White House does not rule out Sessions
recusal on Russia probes
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[February 27, 2017]
By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on
Sunday did not rule out that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may recuse
himself from Justice Department investigations into allegations of
Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a deputy White House press secretary, said
congressional investigations into possible Russian hacking of Democratic
groups would have to run their course before Sessions needed to decide
whether to step aside from the FBI probes.
Sessions was a top adviser to President Donald Trump, a Republican,
during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"I wasn't saying that he shouldn't recuse himself or that he should,"
Sanders told ABC's "This Week." "My point is I don't think we're there
yet. Let's work through this process."
U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that Russia tried to help
Trump win the White House by discrediting Democratic presidential
nominee Hillary Clinton and her party through cyber attacks. President
Barack Obama, a Democrat, expelled Russian diplomats in retaliation in
Moscow has denied the accusations.
The FBI is investigating alleged Russian election-related hacking and
financial transactions by Russian people and companies believed to have
links to associates of Trump, according to current and former government
Trump has dismissed the controversy about ties between his aides and
Russia as a "ruse" perpetrated by a hostile news media.
"Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the
media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks,"
Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions holds his first meeting with
heads of federal law enforcement components at the Justice
Department. in Washington U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri
Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, three
weeks into the new administration after disclosures surfaced that
Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian
ambassador to the United States before Trump took office and misled
Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
Democrats have been pushing for an independent investigation into
whether there were links between the Trump campaign team and Russian
"The attorney general must recuse himself," House of Representatives
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on ABC.
Republican lawmakers echoed the White House, saying the
investigations must take their course.
Senator Tom Cotton said it was premature to talk about a special
prosecutor. "If we get down that road, that's a decision that
Attorney General Sessions can make at the time," he told NBC's "Meet
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter
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