President Trump said the “biggest mistake” of his presidency was appointing Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.
“If you could have one do-over as president, what would it be?” Trump was asked by Chuck Todd in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.
“It would be personnel,” Trump responded.
“I would say if I had one do-over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. That would be my one … that was the biggest mistake.”
“In your mind, that’s your worst mistake?” Todd pressed.
“Yeah, that was the biggest mistake,” Trump said.
Trump fired Sessions in 2018 after the president spent a year publicly fuming about his former campaign adviser turned attorney general’s recusal from overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election. Sessions said he made a “pretty reasonable” decision, given a regulation that prohibits a Justice employee from investigating campaigns in which they are involved and asserted that he would “not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
Trump had repeatedly attacked his former attorney general on Twitter and in interviews after Sessions’s recusal decision, especially as the special counsel Robert Mueller investigation gained momentum when charges were brought against Russian intelligence agents who engaged in cyberattacks throughout the 2016 election and Trump associates were swept into the probe.
“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else,” Trump tweeted last June. “So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined.”
“I don’t have an attorney general,” he said in an interview with Hill.TV months before Sessions handed in his letter of resignation. “It’s very sad.”
After Sessions was removed, the investigation, which Trump regularly decried as a “hoax” and “witch hunt,” was overseen by Matthew Whitaker and finally William Barr.
During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Barr said of Sessions’s decision, “I am not sure of all of the facts, but I think he probably did the right thing recusing himself.”
Trump praised Barr who served as attorney general during the final months of the Mueller probe, which didn’t find that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia, but also didn’t exonerate the president on obstruction of justice.
“He’s a fine man,” Trump told Todd. “The job he’s done is incredible. He’s brought sanity back.”