The ongoing Russia investigation has been a wild ride. In early March 2017 Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally recused himself from overseeing the federal investigation into whether or not President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with the Russian government in order to sway the election's result. It's been no secret that the president was not pleased by the attorney general's decision, but now we know just how much he wasn't pleased. Donald Trump asked Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself, according to a new report from The New York Times, and I don't know whether to be surprised by or resigned to this latest twist in the whole thing.
The Times reported on May 29 that in March 2017, sometime after Sessions announced that he'd recused himself from the Russia probe, Sessions traveled down to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida to see the president about the travel ban on multiple primarily Muslim nations. Sessions reportedly went down in person due to the fact that Trump had reportedly been giving Sessions the silent treatment prior to the visit, refusing to take his calls. But instead of the travel ban, the president allegedly wanted to talk about the Russia investigation, and asked Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself in a move that the Times characterized as "unusual and potentially inappropriate." Sessions reportedly denied Trump's request.
Now, this reported conversation may be stirring up more trouble for the president, as Trump's reported request for Sessions' un-recusal raises new questions regarding potential obstruction of justice from the president. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department's Russia investigation, is reportedly investigating the president's alleged request.
The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's requests for comment on the report, and the Department of Justice declined to comment.
However, Rudy Guiliani, one of Trump's lead lawyers in the Russia investigation, said that while he hadn't discussed the recusal with Trump, a request for the attorney general to un-recuse himself would fall within the bounds of the president's authority, according to the Times.
According to the Times, Mueller is also interested in Trump's efforts to get his attorney general to resign — because this isn't the first time that Trump has attacked Sessions. In fact, Trump has openly shamed the attorney general, whom he hand picked to fill the role following his January 2017 inauguration. As the Russia investigation began to pick up speed in the summer of 2017, Trump ramped up his attacks on Sessions as well. In July 2017 Trump tweeted that Sessions is "weak" and suggested he hadn't done enough regarding Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
In an interview with The New York Times in July 2017, Trump also stated that he would have never made Sessions his attorney general if he had known that he would recuse himself. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.
And in February Trump posted a tweet where he criticized the attorney general for supposedly mishandling Republican allegations of surveillance abuses from the FBI during Trump's 2016 campaign. "Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. ... DISGRACEFUL!" the tweet said.
The report is especially relevant too considering speculation about obstruction of justice surrounding one of the Trump administration's other famous departures. In May of 2017, Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey, who was at the time leading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
This all only adds to the notion that Trump might be on the verge of firing Sessions from his position. In March 2018 Vanity Fair reported that following the decision to fire former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump was thinking of doing the same to other members of his cabinet that had opposed him — namely Sessions.
This latest report from the Times and all the other reports concerning Trump's relationship with Sessions is on the rocks does not sound promising for the attorney general. Asking Sessions to reverse his decision is pretty out there, and I'm not surprised to hear that Mueller is taking this seriously as a part of his probe.
Whether or not Trump will actually fire Sessions is still up in the air, as is the ultimate outcome of the ongoing Russia investigation. You can call it a mystery, you can call it drama, but at this point, one thing seems certain: it's only going to get wilder before it's all over.