Mueller learned of Trump attempt to stop Sessions recusal — NYTimes

Mueller learned of Trump attempt to stop Sessions recusal — NYTimes”

On Thursday, The New York Times reported an aide to Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staffer two days after Comey's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20.

Earlier in the segment, Times reporter Maggie Haberman noted that someone associated with Sessions' office went to Capitol Hill a mere four days before former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey was sacked - yet another piece of the puzzle. News has not confirmed that aspect of the story.

The news "is going to absolutely destroy Sessions' credibility inside DOJ and his ability to lead the department".

Sessions has faced assaults on all sides-including from the president-and the report erodes the impartiality he is meant to maintain as America's top lawyer, Miller suggested. Before the recusal was announced, Trump reportedly ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to convince Sessions not to do it.

Last summer, Trump told the Times he was disappointed Sessions stepped aside from overseeing the investigation that Comey testified was "investigating the nature of any links between those associated with the Trump campaign" and Russia's effort to interfere in the 2016 election.

Still, Robert Bauer, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama, said the Times story provided additional context to news reports a year ago about possible obstruction.

Why was President Trump so frantic to ensure that his attorney general would shield him against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

Mueller learned of Trump attempt to stop Sessions recusal — NYTimes

He explicitly rejected the suggestion that he recused himself because of alleged wrongdoing, and stressed that he was never briefed on the investigation or accessed information about it beyond a limited set of details needed to form a decision on whether to stay out of it.

Sessions's job seemed to hang in the balance. Trump asked on Twitter, pressuring Sessions to act soon after the interview was published.

Were Sessions to step down, however, Trump would merely need to find someone willing to quash the investigation (and lie to the Senate about his or her willingness to do so). One person said McGahn also told him that recusal would do nothing to resolve concerns over whether Sessions had given a misleading answer at his confirmation hearing.

Sessions' recusal caused the DOJ's deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (an Obama holdover) to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the Russian Federation investigation after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Whether or not special counsel Robert S. Mueller III would bring a criminal case on those grounds, there is no doubt that obstructing justice can be the basis for impeachment.

Patrick Cotter, a former assistant USA attorney, said that McGahn lobbying Sessions "was highly inappropriate, foolish and contributes additional supportive evidence as to Trump's intent re: the Russian Federation investigation".

"The president's ongoing campaign to tear down the wall between the Justice Department and the White House seems to be working", Miller told The Daily Beast.

The White House didn't immediately return HuffPost's request for comment on the Times' story.

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