Via NYT email — President Trump said on Thursday that he had “total” confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions despite the revelations that he had conversations with Russia’s ambassador during the presidential campaign.
Touring the Gerald R. Ford, the newest American aircraft carrier, Mr. Trump said that he “wasn’t aware” that Mr. Sessions had spoken to the ambassador, but that he believed the attorney general had testified truthfully to the Senate during his confirmation hearing.
“I think he probably did,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
Asked whether Mr. Sessions should recuse himself in the Russia investigations, the president said, “I don’t think so.”
Congressional Republicans began breaking ranks to join Democrats in demanding that Mr. Sessions recuse himself from overseeing an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Those calls came after the disclosure that Mr. Sessions himself spoke with the Russian ambassador last year, in seeming contradiction to his testimony at his confirmation hearing.
The partisan furor that broke out with the Justice Department’s acknowledgment of the contacts late Wednesday began to take on a bipartisan sheen as the controversy spilled into Thursday morning.