Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2017. REUTERS

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has officially recused himself from an investigation into apparent interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump. Sessions made the announcement Thursday, nearly one full day after the Washington Post reported he had communicated with a Russian ambassador during the campaign, something the attorney general flat-out denied during his Senate confirmation hearing in January.

He continued with the denial Thursday.

Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente has been named to take over "any election-related investigations."

During his brief speech announcing his recusal, Sessions seemed to hint that he had already planned to take himself out of the investigation's equation well before the Post's report was published.

Sessions said he met with Justice Department officials over "the last several weeks" to help him reach the conclusion that he announced Thursday.

Read the full text of his speech below:

“During the course of the confirmation proceedings on my nomination to be Attorney General, I advised the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘[i]f a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed.’

“During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for President of the United States.

“Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.

“I have taken no actions regarding any such matters, to the extent they exist.

“This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation.

“Consistent with the succession order for the Department of Justice, Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dane Boente shall act as and perform the functions of the Attorney General with respect to any matters from which I have recused myself to the extent they exist.”