Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for several hours regarding the Russian election meddling, according to a report by the New York Times this Tuesday.
While it was expected that Sessions would be brought in for questioning, despite Sessions’ recusal from overseeing Mueller’s investigation he still has oversight over the FBI as the attorney general and a senior member of the Department of Justice, and has been responsive to President Trump and some conservatives’ criticisms of the bureau.
The latest in a series of campaign aides
So far the list of current and former White House / campaign aides includes Sean Spicer, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, and Don McGahn, among others who have been interviewed by Mueller’s team.
Sessions has ties to the foreign policy team that included George Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and previously failed to disclose a meeting with the Russian ambassador which ocurred during the campaign.
Sessions also played a role in the firing of James Comey, discussing it with Trump beforehand and also writing a letter recommending Comey’s removal and may have provided information regarding the collusion aspect of the investigation, or the claims of obstruction of justice if President Trump disclosed about the Russia investigation to him.
Pressure on the Bureau
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported earlier this week that in December, Sessions “pressured” Christopher Wray, the new FBI director to fire his deputy, Andrew McCabe after pressure from the administration.
McCabe’s wife was a Democratic candidate for a Virginia senate seat in 2015 and received funding from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally.
In this case, however, Wray resisted Session’s request and according to a report from the New York Times, McCabe is expected to retire voluntarily this March.
According to Swan, reports suggest that Sessions pressured Wray to reassign FBI lawyer James Baker.
The latest interview with Sessions is not enough to make clear whether there was any wrongdoing as many White House aides have gotten interviewed for a variety of reasons although whether this will play a part in further aspects or interventions of the investigations is not clear.
The investigation has been muddled with potential conflicts of interest and setbacks as Inspector General Michael Horowitz told lawmakers that text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa page from December 2016 to May 2017 that were initially deemed lost were found by forensic experts .
According to Bloomberg, “The department had previously notified lawmakers that about 50,000 text messages sent between Strzok and Page had been lost. The newly recovered text messages haven’t been publicly released, and Horowitz didn’t specify if all 50,000 were found or only some of them.”
Horowitz expounded that “We will provide copies of the text messages that we recover from these devices to the department so that the department’s leadership can take any management action it deems appropriate.”
President Trump and Republican allies have alleged that the text messages which include remarks that “that there’s no way” Trump would win the election but “we can’t take that risk.” indicate that the investigation into Russian meddling in the election was started on a false pretense and has been colored by political bias.
Neither the texts nor the details of Sessions’ interview have been released, as information is released we will be analyzing the outcomes of the latest results of the investigation.