Trump-Russia investigation: Jeff Sessions faces questions by Robert Mueller's team

He is the first known member of Mr Trump's cabinet to be questioned by the investigation

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 23 January 2018 15:58
Comments
Mr Sessions had recused himself from the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election
Mr Sessions had recused himself from the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a part of its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, a Justice Department spokeswoman has confirmed.

Mr Sessions was questioned for several hours last week, marking the first known time that a member of President Donald Trump's cabinet has been interviewed as a part of the probe.

The interview, confirmed by The Independent and first reported by the New York Times, follows Mr Sessions' decision to recuse himself from matters related to investigations into the 2016 election, including Justice Department investigations into Russia's influence. Mr Sessions was one of the first sitting members of Congress to publicly support Mr Trump's run for president, and had served as a high profile surrogate and adviser for the campaign.

News of Mr Sessions' recusal broke in March, and followed after revelations that the attorney general had failed to tell Congress about two meetings he had with former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

Mr Trump reportedly tried to convince Mr Sessions not to recuse himself from the 2016 investigations after learning he was considering doing so, and enlisted the help of top White House lawyer Donald F McGahn II to lobby the attorney general against doing so.

Since the recusal, and in light of the subsequent firing of former FBI Director James Comey, Mr Trump has said that he may not have tapped Mr Sessions to lead the Justice Department in the first place had he known.

But Mr Sessions listened to the advice of career Justice Department prosecutors, and decided to not be involved in the investigation. Mr Trump was reportedly incensed by the recusal, and yelled at his attorney general that he needed to protect him from the investigation.

While Mr Sessions is the only cabinet member known to have been interviewed by the Mueller team so far, the investigation has looked at several high profile members of Trump campaign.

The investigation has already led to several indictments, including charges filed against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. Both of those men have pleaded not guilty, and Mr Manafort has counter sued Mr Mueller, saying that the investigation does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute the alleged crimes that were brought up.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign last year after it was determined that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about contacts he had had with Mr Kislyak during the presidential transition, was also charged, and pleaded guilty. Former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the investigation.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in