President Donald Trump said in an interview published Wednesday that he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself over matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump's remarks, in a 50-minute interview with The New York Times, came as an open rebuke from the President toward the nation's top law enforcement official.
"Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the President," Trump said, referring to himself. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair -- and that's a mild word -- to the President."
Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times.
Sessions later amended his testimony.
"Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers," the President said. "He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren't."
Trump also asserted that former FBI Director James Comey had presented him with a dossier containing a number of allegations about himself and Russia prior to his inauguration as a way to have leverage over him.
"In my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there," Trump said.
The dossier included a wide range of allegations, including salacious and unproven ones about Trump. CNN reported in February that investigators had corroborated some points in the dossier, but not the salacious details. In the interview, Trump said he had immediately written it off as false.
"When he brought it to me, I said this is really made-up junk," Trump said. "I didn't think about any of it. I just thought about man, this is such a phony deal."