GOP's Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz say Attorney General Sessions should recuse himself from Russia investigations

Two leading Republican lawmakers on Thursday said they believe Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from Justice Department and FBI investigations on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Jason Chaffetz spoke out on Thursday, after the Washington Post reported late on Wednesday that then-Sen. Sessions spoke last year with Russia's ambassador to the United States -- encounters he did not disclose, during his confirmation hearing, when he stated under oath that he had not met with any Russian officials.

McCarthy appeared Thursday morning on MSNBC, saying Sessions should bow in order to maintain "the trust of the American people."

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"I don't have all the information in front of me, I don't want to prejudge, but I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation," McCarthy said. "I think it'd be easier from that standpoint" for Sessions to recuse himself.

McCarthy walked back that statement later on Fox & Friends, though, saying "I'm not calling on him to recuse himself," adding "it's amazing how people spin things so quickly."

Chaffetz echoed McCarthy minutes later, tweeting that "AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself."

Sessions' encounters with Russian officials included two reported meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016. Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores confirmed these details to NBC News on Thursday morning.

In addition to the two prominent GOP officials, Democratic leaders were quick to comment on the latest news out of President Trump's Cabinet. Both Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued demands for Sessions' immediate resignation in the aftermath of his hearing omission.

"Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign," Pelosi said in her statement. "There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians."

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When asked whether he will recuse himself from any ongoing investigations, Sessions reiterated previous statements that he will remove himself from such processes "whenever it's appropriate."

"I have said whenever it's appropriate, I will recuse myself," he said. "There's no doubt about that."

"I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign," Sessions said, "and those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false. And I don't have anything else to say about that."

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