President Trump claimed that the “biggest mistake” of his presidency was appointing Jeff Sessions as attorney general, stating that he wished he could have a “do-over” on that decision during an extensive interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.
After Trump groused about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, claiming Powell’s not doing a “good job” and he’s unhappy with the Fed chief, host Chuck Todd asked the president: “If you could have one do-over as president, what would it be?”
“Well, it would be personnel,” Trump responded.
“I would say if I had one do-over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general,” the president added. “That would be my one.”
Todd wondered aloud if Trump considered hiring Sessions to be his “biggest mistake.”
“Yeah, that was the biggest mistake,” the president said.
Trump went on to praise Sessions’ successor—Attorney General Bill Barr—comparing him favorably to his one-time fixer Roy Cohn, who he described as a “tough guy.”
“Bill Barr is a very...he’s equally tough,” Trump declared. “He’s a fine man. He’s a fine man. The job he’s done is incredible. He’s brought sanity back.”
The president further noted that Barr “feels that what's happened in this country was a very bad thing and very bad for our country,” referencing Barr’s current probe into the Russia investigation’s origins.
During Sessions’ tumultuous tenure as attorney general, he was publicly ridiculed and criticized by Trump for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. After it was reported in May 2018 that Trump had asked Sessions to reverse his recusal, the president tweeted that he wished he had chosen a different attorney general.
About six months later, the president asked Sessions to resign.