Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday took what seemed to be a veiled swipe at Robert Mueller and suggested the special counsel’s probe “needs to conclude.”
The comments came during Sessions’ appearance before the House Appropriations subcommittee. Toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), confronted Sessions on his failure to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a host of GOP concerns, asserting his constituents were frustrated by that and by Mueller’s probe.
“We are frustrated that we have had a special counsel in Mueller investigating supposed collusion for over a year, with not a scintilla of evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Jenkins said in the midst of a lengthy monologue.
“Look, I think the American people are concerned, and the president is concerned. He’s dealing with France and North Korea and Syria and taxes and regulations and border and crime every day and, I wish, this thing needs to conclude. So, I understand his frustrations, and I understand the American people’s frustrations,” Sessions said.
He added later: “I do not think we need to willy-nilly appoint special counsels, and as we can see, it can really take on a life of its own.”
Sessions has no direct authority over Mueller, and could not bring the special counsel probe to an end — even if that is his desire. To President Donald Trump’s dismay, Sessions recused himself from supervising what is now the special counsel probe because of his role on the Trump campaign. The matter is being overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
But the attorney general’s comments, nonetheless, are striking, suggesting Sessions might privately share some of the president’s frustration with the Mueller investigation.