Speed Reads

Trump-Russia

Report: Trump told counsel to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in Russia probe

In March, President Trump told White House Counsel Don McGahn to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, The New York Times reports.

Two people with knowledge of the meeting told the Times that when McGahn spoke with Sessions, the attorney general told him he had made up his mind in February to recuse himself, after conferring with others in the Justice Department. When McGahn told Trump he had been unsuccessful in trying to sway Sessions, Trump was furious and said he needed an attorney general who would protect him, the Times reports. Sessions recused himself that month and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May.

The Times also learned that Mueller has received handwritten notes from former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, stating that Trump talked to him about how he called former FBI Director James Comey to urge him to announce publicly that he was not under investigation; that one of McGahn's deputies, concerned about what might happen if Trump fired Comey, at one point misled the president about his authority to fire the FBI director; and that just days before Comey was fired in May, one of Sessions' aides asked a congressional staffer if he had any information on Comey that could hurt him, as Sessions wanted to see negative stories about Comey in the news every day. Read the entire report at The New York Times.