Ever since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, he was subject to the silent treatment by President Donald Trump.
Last March, when Trump failed to answer Sessions’ phone calls, the attorney general flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet him in person. While Sessions’ agenda to meet with Trump was to discuss the infamous travel ban, the president’s focus was on the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation— a move that Trump least expected from a man he handpicked for the job.
As reported by the New York Times, Trump was furious with Sessions and told him to reverse his decision.
This incident is now being investigated by the special counsel, as it sheds light on a different narrative. The probe demonstrates the attorney general’s overlooked role as a key witness into whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself.
The special counsel’s team has interviewed several White House aides about Sessions’ interactions with Trump. Sessions himself was interrogated by Mueller’s team in January. In fact, Mueller’s team has several questions that they would like to ask President Trump, and nearly eight questions are related to his meeting with Attorney General Sessions.
According to Trump’s personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani, although the president is keen on answering Mueller’s questions, he should not be forced to discuss private conversations with senior administration officials.
Last July, Trump told the New York Times that he would have never appointed Sessions had he known that he would step away from matters related to the 2016 election campaign. Over the months, Trump has made his dislike for Sessions public. He has allegedly called him “beleaguered,” and “Mr. Magoo” behind closed doors.
“There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. tweeted.— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 30, 2018
After that, Trump added, in his own voice: “And I wish I did!” https://t.co/Knz4CwQQ1J
Despite pressure from the president to resign, Sessions stood by his decision and continued to lead the Department of Justice.
In April, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said that if Sessions were to quit, it would come back to haunt the president.
“It is a problem,” Priebus said of the tensions on ABC’s This Week.
“And I don’t think that it would be good for the president for Attorney General Sessions to leave.”
Priebus said Trump has “made up his mind in regard to how he feels about the recusal.”
“He feels that was the first sin, the original sin,” Priebus said. “And he feels slighted by it. He doesn’t like it. And he’s not going to let it go.”