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Report: Trump asked Sessions to rescind his recusal from Russia probe

During a dinner in Florida in March 2017, President Trump told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he needed to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, The New York Times reports.

Sessions flew to Florida a few days after announcing his recusal because Trump wouldn't take his calls and he had to talk with him about his travel ban, current and former administration officials told the Times. Trump berated Sessions during their dinner, demanded his loyalty, and told him to change his mind about the recusal, but Sessions said he was sticking to his decision. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating this incident as part of his probe into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, the Times reports, and Mueller's team has interviewed several current and former White House officials about how Sessions was treated by Trump. Sessions himself was interviewed in January.

Trump spent months focused on the recusal, confidants said, and was quick to attack Sessions. Trump's lead lawyer in the Russia investigation, Rudy Giuliani, told the Times there's nothing wrong with a person being asked to change his mind on a recusal. "'Unrecuse' doesn't say, 'Bury the investigation,'" he argued. "It says on the face of it: Take responsibility for it and handle it correctly." It is very rare for a prosecutor to go back on a recusal; legal experts say it is done on occasion when there could be a financial conflict of interest, but that conflict gets cleared up.