Sessions will recuse himself from federal investigation into Russian interference

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing to be the U.S. Attorney General January 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions was one of the first members of Congress to endorse and support President-elect Donald Trump, who nominated him for Attorney General. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. — Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from a federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 White House election.

Sessions faced mounting pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to step aside after revelations that he had twice talked with Moscow’s U.S. envoy during the presidential campaign. Sessions’ conversations with the ambassador seem to contradict his sworn statements to Congress during his confirmation hearings.

The Justice Department said there was nothing improper about the meetings. Sessions insisted he never met with Russian officials to discuss the campaign.

Sessions said this week he would recuse himself when appropriate. Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente will handle any matters related to the investigation.

At a news conference Thursday, he continued to draw a distinction between his conversations with the Russian ambassador in his role as a senator and his role in the Trump campaign.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer is defending Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying he was simply doing his job as a former senator when he spoke with the Russian ambassador.

Spicer tells reporters aboard Air Force Once that Sessions did not mislead in sworn statements he made to Congress during his confirmation hearing.