Robert Mueller’s ongoing special counsel investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Moscow heated up again on Thursday, this time revealing that the president pushed his lawyer to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia probe.
According to The New York Times, “President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.”
More from the eye-opening report:
Public pressure was building for Mr. Sessions, who had been a senior member of the Trump campaign, to step aside. But the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, carried out the president’s orders and lobbied Mr. Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.
Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, had done for his brother John F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. had for Barack Obama.
The explosive reporting underscores just how much the Mueller investigation is zeroing in on potential obstruction of justice charges on the part of Trump, who has been rather open about his desire to see the Russia investigation come to an end.
The new revelation that he was pushing White House legal counsel to lobby Sessions to remain in control of the inquiry in order to “protect him” suggests that he knows his presidency is in danger if the truth comes out.
If Trump believes he’s truly innocent and has nothing to hide, as he repeatedly tells the public, then he likely wouldn’t have lashed out behind the scenes about Session’s recusal from the Russia probe.
Innocent people don’t need protection from fair and thorough investigations.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.