White House

Trump: ‘Life would’ve been a lot easier’ had I picked Barr over Sessions

Sessions quickly went from one of the president’s champions to one of his greatest foes after recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

President Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday said that his “life would’ve been a lot easier” had he chosen William Barr over Jeff Sessions as his attorney general from the start, but that the move could have threatened his popularity among supporters.

“My life would’ve been a lot easier, but I might have been less popular,” Trump said in an interview on Geraldo Rivera’s podcast when asked what his life would be like if he had picked Barr over Sessions. “Because (my supporters) say they like that that I fought it. They like that I won. They like that my base is much more energized.”

The former attorney general, who as a senator from Alabama was one of the first sitting members of Congress to endorse Trump in the presidential primary, quickly went from one of the president’s champions to one of his greatest foes after recusing himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The deputy attorney general at the time, Rod Rosenstein, assumed oversight and appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate.

Trump’s and Sessions’ relationship never recovered, and the president openly attacked Sessions on social media and in public before firing him a day after the November 2018 midterm elections.

But Trump sees the saga in a positive light, as something that has energized his reelection campaign.

“Let’s assume none of this stuff happened, that we had a nice, boring presidency, right?” Trump said. “I don’t think I’d have nearly the energy in the Republican Party that we have right now.”

Trump’s comments, calling Barr a “very good man doing a very good job,” also come as the attorney general faces scrutiny over the Justice Department’s intervention in the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, one of the president’s longtime confidants. Trump further threw Barr into the fray on Wednesday morning by congratulating him on Twitter for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”

“Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted,” the president tweeted.