Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Tuesday he would recuse himself from any possible investigations related to Hillary Clinton if he is confirmed as President-elect Donald Trump‘s attorney general.
Sessions said during a confirmation hearing the politically charged comments he made about the Clintons during the presidential campaign would give the appearance he is not impartial in potential probes of the private email server she used while secretary of State or of the Clinton Foundation.
“I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question,” Sessions told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “I believe the proper thing for me to do would be for me to recuse myself.”
Republicans in Congress have vowed to continue an investigation into Clinton’s private email setup.Sessions’s comments are designed to assuage critics who believe the Justice Department could be politicized under Trump. The Alabama senator was a vocal campaign supporter of Trump, who suggested that Clinton should be imprisoned for her private email setup.
Sessions said he would refuse an order from the president to name a special prosecutor to go after Clinton, a move Trump called for during the campaign. “I believe that would be the best approach for the country because we can never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute,” Sessions said. “This country does not punish its political enemies. What this country ensures [is] that no one is above the law.”
But it’s unclear whether Trump wants to continue with such a probe as president. If an investigation does go forward, it would likely be overseen by Sessions’s deputy if he is confirmed.