13:17, May 30 266 0 abajournal.com

2018-05-30 13:17:08
Trump reportedly asked Sessions to unrecuse himself; special counsel is said to be investigating

President Donald Trump reportedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself in the investigation of Russian influence in March 2017 during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s request—rejected by Sessions—is being investigated by the special counsel, along with Trump's efforts to get the attorney general to resign, the New York Times reports in a story based on anonymous current and former administration officials.

Sessions had met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in hopes he could persuade the president to withdraw and revise his first travel ban after it was blocked by a federal judge.

According to the Times, special counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in the incidents demonstrates that Sessions has an “overlooked role as a key witness” into whether Trump tried to obstruct the special counsel inquiry.

Before Sessions recused himself, Trump reportedly asked White House counsel Don McGahn to lobby Sessions to retain control of the Russia probe. Sessions told McGahn he planned to follow the advice of Justice Department lawyers who said he should recuse himself.

After the recusal, Trump asked his then chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to get Sessions to resign, an anonymous source tells the Times. Priebus called Sessions’ chief of staff, Jody Hunt, who told Priebus that Trump would have to make the request. “Unsure how to proceed,” the Times reports, Priebus “simply waited out the president, who never called Mr. Sessions but did attack him that week on Twitter.”

Priebus was ousted from his position days later.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times that he hadn’t discussed the matter with Trump. But Giuliani said the president would have the authority to ask Sessions to take back control of the Russia investigation.

“‘Unrecuse’ doesn’t say, ‘Bury the investigation.’ It says on the face of it: Take responsibility for it and handle it correctly,” Giuliani said.

On Wednesday, Trump attacked Sessions in a tweet picking up on a statement by Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina during a television appearance. Trump quoted Gowdy as saying the president had plenty of good lawyers to choose from when he named the attorney general. “And I wish I did!” Trump tweeted.

….There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” And I wish I did!