By ordering the Justice Department to turn over a number of documents, special counsel Robert Mueller III is bringing his probe into the scandal between President Donald Trump's administration and the Russian government one step closer to the commander in chief.
The team tasked with learning whether Trump tried to obstruct an FBI investigation into how his presidential campaign may have been connected to Russian operatives has instructed the Justice Department to turn over a wide range of documents, according to ABC News. They are specifically seeking to learn more about the chain of events leading up to the firing of former FBI director James Comey, as well as those that preceded Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself for the case. Mueller's team has ordered that it receive both communications between separate Justice Department officials and those between Justice Department officials and White House officials.
The new request will likely further heighten tensions between Trump and Sessions, whose once-close friendship reportedly soured after Sessions recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation due to concerns about him having seemingly lied about his own Russian contacts during his confirmation hearing. Although many predicted that Sessions would resign due to his repeated mistreatment at the hands of the president, he has clung to his job in order to further push for his right-wing anti-immigrant agenda.
Trump, meanwhile, has flip-flopped on whether he agrees with the American intelligence community about Russia's attempted meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He has previously expressed doubt toward the intelligence community's conclusion and said that he believed Putin, only to alter positions when the blowback against siding with Russia over the U.S. become politically embarrassing.