Special counsel Robert Mueller is aware of an unsuccessful attempt by President Donald Trump to lobby Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s Russia probe, The New York Times reported.
The Times, citing two people with knowledge of the episode, said Trump had ordered White House counsel Don McGahn last March to stop Sessions from recusing himself from oversight of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A source close to Sessions confirmed to CNN that McGahn reached out to the attorney general in an attempt to dissuade him.
Trump’s reported attempt to have a political ally maintain control of an investigation into his associates would add to a list of possible examples of Trump seeking to influence the Justice Department — and opening himself up to potential obstruction of justice claims.
At the time, Sessions faced mounting calls for recusal given his support for the Trump campaign and the revelation of an omission during his confirmation hearing about contacts with Sergey Kislyak, who was the Russian ambassador to the US at the time.
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