President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, telling members of the press that he is “disappointed” in the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the ongoing Russia probe.
“He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office,” Trump said during a press conference with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on the White House lawn. “And if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me prior to taking office and I would have quite simply picked somebody else.”
Last week, Trump took the same stance in an interview with The New York Times, adding that Sessions’ decision was “very unfair to the president.”
Trump expanded on that statement on Tuesday, telling the press pool, “So I think that’s a bad thing not for the president, but for the presidency. I think it’s unfair to the presidency.”
Sessions recused himself from any investigations related to President Trump’s campaign in March after his previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador were revealed.
Later during Tuexsday’s press conference, Trump outlined that he wanted the attorney general “to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before.”
As for Sessions’ status within the administration, Trump said, “We will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.”
Despite the president’s claims that he was surprised by Sessions’ move, the Washington Post reported that at the attorney general’s confirmation hearing, he said he would recuse himself – if necessary – from the then-hypothetical investigation into Trump’s campaign.
Said Sessions at the time, “I would review it and try to do the right thing as to whether or not it should stay within the jurisdiction of the attorney general or not.”
RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack
Trump also addressed his victory in the Senate Tuesday, just after Republicans voted on a motion to proceed with debate on healthcare legislation: “This was a big step.”
He also thanked ailing Sen. John McCain — who traveled cross-country just 11 days after brain surgery for the vote — for helping to move the debate forward.
“We want to thank Sen. McCain and all of the Republicans,” said Trump. “We passed it without one Democrat vote and that’s a shame, but that’s the way it is and it’s very unfortunate.”