Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russian investigations
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday recused himself from investigations relating to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and any involvement with Russia.
The recusal followed a report that accused Sessions of falsely stating during his confirmation hearing he never met with Russian officials during the campaign -- a position he maintained at Thursday's press conference.
“Let me be clear. I never had meetings with Russians op or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign," he said. “My reply to Sen. Franken was honest and correct as I understood it at the time.”
Sessions and his staff did meet with an ambassador to Russia although he said the two didn't discuss politics.
The attorney general said he made his decision after his staff recommended that he recuse himself from any investigation related to the Trump campaign, since he had been involved in that campaign.
Sessions added that his announcement "should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation."
The White House has stood behind Sessions, though officials said they first learned about his contacts with the ambassador from a reporter Wednesday night. President Donald Trump said he had "total" confidence in him and didn't think he needed to step aside from the investigation.
The Justice Department has maintained there was nothing improper about Sessions' contacts or his answers to Congress, while the continuing allegations of Russian interference in American politics spurred Democratic calls for Sessions not only to recuse himself but to resign.
Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente will handle any matters related to the investigation.
This story will be updated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.