President Trump pressured Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller is now probing that exchange, according to a report from the New York Times.
The newspaper reported Tuesday that when Sessions flew down to Florida to have dinner with the President at his Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017, Trump berated Sessions about his decision and asked him to rescind it, a request Sessions declined.
This exchange, as well as the repeated attacks on Sessions by Trump in the media and on Twitter, are part of Mueller’s investigation, the paper reported.
Mueller has been reported to be focused on obstruction of justice in his inquiry. In addition to the conversation with Sessions, he has also looked into the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Sessions recused himself in March 2017 from any investigation related to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
CNN reported in January that former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer joined the effort of White House counsel Don McGahn to persuade Sessions to not recuse himself from the investigation.
The two were involved in calls between the White House and Justice Department in early 2018.
“I think it’s fair to call it pressure,” a senior administration official said about White House conversations with Sessions and his top aides about the matter.
CNN’s Jim Acosta, Stephen Collinson and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.