Chuck Todd: Sessions Must ‘Re-establish His Own Credibility’ After He ‘Badly Damaged’ Justice Dept.

During an NBC News special report moments before Attorney General Jeff Sessions began his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday afternoon, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd argued that the Justice Department chief had “a couple of different challenges” to face in the hearing and would have to “re-establish his own credibility.”

Referencing former FBI Director James Comey testifying before the same committee on Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt wondered: “Chuck, will we largely be looking for a rebuttal to what Comey said here?” Todd replied: “...we’ll see if it’s a full-fledged rebuttal....he’s got to re-establish his own credibility to lead a Justice Department that feels like it’s been badly damaged politically, badly damaged by the testimony from James Comey, badly damaged by some of the actions that perhaps the Attorney General did inadvertently or not when it comes to those – lack of reporting those meetings on Russia.”

Todd added: “But he’s also got a credibility problem with his boss, the President of the United States, who is angry at him for recusing himself in the first place.”

The Sunday show host concluded that Sessions had “different masters he’s trying to feed....And I don’t know if you can do both at the same time.”

Here is a transcript of the June 13 exchange:

2:36 PM ET

(...)

LESTER HOLT: As we watch members of the committee slowly file in and take their seats and conferring with staff there, let’s continue around the horn. Our political director and Moderator of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, is in our Washington bureau. Chuck, will we largely be looking for a rebuttal to what Comey said here?

CHUCK TODD: I think it – well, we’ll see if it’s a full-fledged rebuttal. Look, I think that Jeff Sessions has a couple of different challenges and they may be in competition with each other. On one hand, he’s got to re-establish his own credibility to lead a Justice Department that feels like it’s been badly damaged politically, badly damaged by the testimony from James Comey, badly damaged by some of the actions that perhaps the Attorney General did inadvertently or not when it comes to those – lack of reporting those meetings on Russia. But he’s also got a credibility problem with his boss, the President of the United States, who is angry at him for recusing himself in the first place.

So he’s got different masters he’s trying to feed. He’s got a Justice Department that’s under siege and I think he’s got to represent the career folks there, and at the same time, somehow re-establish credibility with his boss. And I don’t know if you can do both at the same time.

(...)

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