Mueller wants to know if Trump pressured Jeff Sessions for recusing himself

Trump has been outspoken about his dismay with Sessions for recusing himself from the Trump-Russia investigation

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 31, 2018 9:38AM (EST)

Jeff Sessions (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Jeff Sessions (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

A new report reveals that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to look into the circumstances surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Trump-Russia investigation, in order to determine whether it was part of a presidential pattern involving obstruction of justice.

Prior to Sessions being interviewed by Mueller's team, the Justice Department provided the special counsel's investigators with internal documents pertaining to both Sessions' recusal and the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to ABC News. Sources informed the news network that the probing into Sessions' recusal and Trump's response is part of a broader effort to determine whether the president attempted to obstruct the investigation into potential collusion between members of his campaign and Russian officials.

This news comes only two months after the network learned that Mueller's investigation wanted to learn more not only about the details surrounding Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, but also to determine what connection if any existed between that event and Sessions' subsequent recusal. It has been learned since Trump's firing of Comey that the president initially wanted Sessions to resign as attorney general. The president's position had been that Sessions' recusal made him look weak, and Trump only backed away from his desire to fire Sessions when his advisers told him that it would look bad in the aftermath of Comey's firing.

The following month, Trump also tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller but refrained from doing so when White House Counsel Donald McGahn threatened to resign if the president did so.

As the special counsel's office continues to hone in on Sessions, Trump's lawyers are throwing up obstacles to the president meeting with Mueller's team in person, according to CNN. Their latest tactic has been arguing that the Mueller team has not yet established that they need to interview the president in person, with the underlying logic being that a president is different from other citizens and the special counsel's office needs to cross a higher bar in order to justify speaking with him face to face.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Michael Flynn Robert Mueller Trump-russia Investigation