Russia probe: Donald Trump says he wouldn't have picked Jeff Sessions if he knew he'd recuse himself

Washington: President Donald Trump says he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney-general had he known Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. Trump made the extraordinary statement about Sessions in  an interview with the New York Times Wednesday.

 Russia probe: Donald Trump says he wouldnt have picked Jeff Sessions if he knew hed recuse himself

File image of Jeff Sessions.Reuters

He told the paper that Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to Russia was "very unfair to the president."

Trump said the brief conversation consisted of "pleasantries more than anything else," but added that the two also discussed adoption.

That's the same topic Donald Trump Jr says he discussed  with a Russian lawyer at a meeting that has drawn criticism.

On Tuesday, the White House said that Trump held a second, previously undisclosed meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin on 7 July during the G-20 summit in Hamburg.

"There was a couples-only social dinner at the G-20. Toward the end, the president spoke to Putin at the dinner," Efe quoted National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton as saying.

"No staff or Cabinet were at the dinner at all, for any of the countries."

The dinner took place hours after Trump and Putin met formally for more than two hours on the sidelines of the conference in the German city. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov were present for the earlier discussion.

Trump and Putin were seated at opposite ends of the table for the dinner, but the American leader left his spot and sat next to the Russian.

The two presidents spoke for around an hour, accompanied only by Putin's translator.

Ian Bremmer, president of the US-based Eurasia Group, was the first to disclose the second meeting between Trump and Putin.

In a newsletter to clients, Bremer said he learned of the discussion from two people who were at the dinner.

During the initial session in Hamburg, Trump confronted Putin about allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, prompting the Kremlin chief to repeat his previous denials of any interference.

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Updated Date: Jul 20, 2017 07:54:56 IST