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WashPost: Mueller Probing Trump's Sessions Attacks for Obstruction

Image: WashPost: Mueller Probing Trump's Sessions Attacks for Obstruction
FBI special counsel Robert Mueller (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 08:29 PM

Russia special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Donald Trump tried to oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions under the guise of possible obstruction of justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The report cited "people familiar with the matter."

Mueller's investigators are zeroing in on July and early August of last year, when Trump issued blistering tweets slamming his "beleaguered" attorney general, they told the Post.

The special counsel is focusing on whether these efforts by Trump sought to oust Sessions so he could "pick a replacement who would exercise control" over the Russia investigation, the sources said.

Representatives for the Justice Department, Mueller's office and White House declined to comment.

On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to rip Sessions for assigning a probe into alleged surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI to the agency's inspector general.

Sessions, however, hit back — vowing in a statement: "As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution."

In last summer's tweets, President Trump repeatedly attacked Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia and for not being tougher on Democrat Hillary Clinton and her private email use.

His recusal led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to eventually appoint Mueller as special counsel after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May.

Sessions, 71, a former five-term Alabama Republican senator who was the first in Congress to endorse his candidacy, did not openly respond to Trump's posts.

He, however, told graduates at the International Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador in July that "there are good days and bad days in any job."

He also told Fox News the day before, also from El Salvador, the president's criticism was "hurtful" — despite vowing to remain on the job.

According to the Post, President Trump has also privately bashed Sessions for "not defending him" and for not being "sufficiently loyal."

During that period last year, President Trump ordered Reince Priebus, his chief of staff at the time, to obtain a resignation letter from Sessions, the Post reported.

Priebus hesitated and declined to ask for an outright request, which was not Trump's first one from Sessions.

But Republicans rallied to the attorney general's defense, with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham saying there would be "holy hell" to pay if Trump fired Sessions.

The president then backed down.

"Mueller apparently has decided there are significant issues at stake . . . into whether the president or others in the White House sought to obstruct justice" with Trump's actions last summer, the Post reported.

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FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Donald Trump's Twitter attacks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions might make a case of obstruction of justice.
fbi, special counsel, robert mueller, twitter, obstruction of justice
Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 08:29 PM
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