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Growing Number Of Republicans Call On U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Step Aside

Sessions reportedly did not disclose conversations he had with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during his confirmation.

03/03/2017 1:35 AM AEDT | Updated 03/03/2017 2:04 AM AEDT

WASHINGTON ― An increasing number of key Republicans in Congress are questioning whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia's role in the election amid reports that the former senator failed to disclose conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Late Wednesday night, The Washington Post reported that Sessions spoke twice last year with the Russian official and didn't tell lawmakers during his January confirmation hearing. U.S. investigators have also looked into Sessions' communications as part of a larger investigation into possible links between Trump's campaign and the Russian government, according to a Wall Street Journal report Thursday.

By Thursday morning, key Republicans began to question whether Sessions could impartially oversee the Justice Department's probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) came out with one of the most direct statements yet by a Republican on Thursday.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said it would just be "easier" if Sessions recused himself.

"I think for the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations, yes," McCarthy said on "Morning Joe."

Sessions met with Ambassador Sergey" in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Justice Department officials told The Washington Post.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday morning it's "valid" to ask why Sessions didn't disclose the conversations.

"It is potentially the case that there is going to be Justice Department recommendations or referrals based on anything regarding the campaign [and] that depending on what more we learn about these meetings, it could very well be that the attorney general, in the interest of fairness and in his best interest, should potentially ask someone else to step in and play that role," Rubio said on NPR's "Morning Edition." "I'm not interested in being part of a witch hunt, but I also will not be part of a cover-up."

After the report initially broke, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he wasn't going to make a decision based on news articles, but conceded that a special prosecutor may be necessary.

"If there is something there, and it goes up the chain of investigation, it is clear to me that Jeff Sessions, who is my dear friend, cannot make this decision about Trump," Graham said during a CNN town hall.

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