Tags: Kevin McCarthy | Sessions | Russia | Recuse

Kevin McCarthy: It Would Be 'Easier' for Sessions to Recuse Himself

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Thursday, 02 Mar 2017 09:17 AM

It would be "easier" if Attorney General Jeff Sessions would recuse himself from a probe into whether people associated with President Donald Trump's campaign had been in contact with Russians House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday.

"I think [for] the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations," said McCarthy on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"I don't have all of the information in front of me. I think for any investigation going forward you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation, that there is no doubt within the investigation. I think it would be easier from that standpoint, yes."

However, later in the morning, McCarthy walked back his comments during an interview with Fox News' "Fox & Friends," saying that the "easier" comment was not a demand for Sessions to recuse himself.

"I'm not calling on him to recuse himself," McCarthy told Fox News. "I was asked on 'Morning Joe' if he needs to recuse himself as going forward. And as you just heard, Attorney General Sessions said he would find recuse going forward appropriate, and that's all my answer was."

McCarthy also claimed to Fox that his comments on the rival MSNBC show were misconstrued, and accused The Washington Post, which broke the news on Sessions' meetings with the Russian ambassador, of timing the story to overshadow Trump's successful address to a joint session of Congress this week.

The White House has dismissed questions over whether Sessions had lied during his confirmation hearing about conversations he'd had with the ambassador while he was a prominent adviser and surrogate for Trump's campaign.

McCarthy, though, said that he could see where in his role as a senator, as Sessions was during Trump's campaign, that he would meet with different ambassadors.

"I just think he needs to clarify what these meetings were and when did he have them," said McCarthy. "In this role, we meet with ambassadors all the time."

For example, he said, during conventions for both parties, ambassadors show up and "try to get as many members to come through and just say 'hi.' You're really not meeting with one."

McCarthy also said he does not see much that is serious concerning Sessions' contacts, but he does think he needs to clarify the matter.

According to to the Justice Department, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak visited Sessions twice in his Capitol Hill office on Sept. 8. Sessions also met with the envoy as part of a small group of ambassadors after an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

The meeting in September was in Sessions' capacity on the Armed Services committee, said the Justice Department, not in his role with the Trump campaign.

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It would be "easier" if Attorney General Jeff Sessions would recuse himself from a probe into whether people associated with President Donald Trump's campaign had been in contact with Russians House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday.
Kevin McCarthy, Sessions, Russia, Recuse
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2017-17-02
Thursday, 02 Mar 2017 09:17 AM
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