Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Paul Manafort Sues Robert Mueller, Claiming Russia Probe Is Exceeding His Authority

Paul Manafort Sues Robert Mueller, Claiming Russia Probe Is Exceeding His Authority

Schiff said The New York Times's reporting makes it clear that Sessions should appear before the House Intelligence Committee for more questioning.

A New York Times report released late Thursday reveals that special counsel Robert Mueller has "substantiated claims that Mr. Comey made in a series of memos describing troubling interactions with the president before he was sacked in May".

According to a New York Times story published Thursday evening, Trump was so determined to keep Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 election that he enlisted White House counsel Don McGahn to help him.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the episode did not occur.

The new revelations focus mainly on Trump's dealings with his own Justice Department, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, during earlier stages of the investigation. Still, President Trump reportedly hoped that Sessions would stand by his side and shield him from legal woes, as he believes past AG's have done in the past, like Robert F. Kennedy with President John F. Kennedy, and Eric Holder with President Barack Obama. Before the recusal was announced, Trump reportedly ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to convince Sessions not to do it. He did so by reviewing handwritten notes by former chief of staff Reince Priebus, the paper said. Before the recusal, Sessions had been criticized over his failure to disclose interactions with the Russian ambassador to the USA, which had become a factor in the investigation into Russian election meddling.

But soon before the announcement, with White House officials anticipating that Sessions might be poised to step aside, McGahn spoke to Sessions by phone and urged him against recusing himself from the investigation.


On Thursday, two members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus in the House called in an opinion piece for Sessions to be replaced because he has failed to purge partisans against President Trump from the FBI, which they accuse of leaking stories about the ongoing Russian Federation investigation to the media.

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. In fact, it says that he played a role in trying to undermine Comey at a time when it was apparently well-known inside the Trump administration that Trump wanted to fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

It remains unclear if Mueller can make a case that Trump's efforts on control the FBI's Russian Federation probe were criminal, but there's plenty of information in the public record that might support an obstruction of justice charge.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands during a news conference to discuss "efforts to reduce violent crime" at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2017.

Last July, Trump told the Times he wouldn't have hired Sessions if he knew in advance the attorney general would recuse himself.

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