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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/CNN) — President Donald Trump again lamented his choice for attorney general on Wednesday, writing on Twitter he wishes he’d chosen someone other than Jeff Sessions, who enraged the President when he recused himself from the Russia investigation.
It was the latest evidence of Trump’s ongoing pre-occupation with the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Despite declaring earlier this week he was diverting his attention to more pressing matters, like North Korea and trade, Trump has continued to vent on Twitter about the controversy he’s described as a “witch hunt.”
It was Sessions who attracted his ire on Wednesday, a day after The New York Times described an angry meeting in Florida last year when Trump demanded Sessions reverse his decision to step away from Russia-related matters. The newspaper reported Mueller was looking into the episode.
Quoting Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, who noted on CBS earlier Wednesday that Trump “could have picked somebody else” for the position, Trump tweeted, “I wish I did!”
Gowdy was responding to a question about whether Trump may have obstructed justice in reportedly asking Sessions in March 2017 to reverse his decision to recuse himself in the probe, as The New York Times reported.
The South Carolina Republican said he believed Trump was “expressing frustration” that Sessions should have shared his reasons for recusal before accepting the role of attorney general.
Trump has frequently criticized Sessions over his recusal, which paved the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump has viewed the decision as an expression of disloyalty, and the relationship between the two men has soured.
But Trump’s frequent fits of fury over Sessions have only further attracted the special counsel’s attention. Sessions himself has sat for an interview with Mueller, and Trump’s views of his attorney general’s recusal are among the questions investigators have for Trump should he do the same.
Trump has scaled up his attacks of the Mueller investigation in recent days, including suggesting on Tuesday that Mueller’s team would meddle in the midterm congressional elections.
It’s part of a strategy to undercut the probe as politically motivated and rigged.
In an interview with The New York Times last July, the President said he would not have chosen Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would step away from matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump and his attorney general’s relationship has suffered greatly since Sessions’ decision to recuse himself. Sessions, a top Trump campaign surrogate, announced the decision in March 2017 after it was revealed that he had contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the 2016 election.
In the past year, Trump has publicly referred to his attorney general as “beleaguered” and even referred to Sessions in February as “Mr. Magoo” behind closed doors, according to The Washington Post.
Trump also has privately complained that Sessions has not adequately defended him, multiple sources have told CNN over the past year.
Sessions has stood by his decision and continued to offer no public signal that he intends to step down in face of the criticism, despite an apparent offer to resign after Trump berated him and called him an “idiot” last year.