More emerging details point to evidence of Trump obstruction in Russia inquiry
Trump reportedly asked White House lawyer to lobby Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself
Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election continues to uncover more evidence that Trump struggled to keep the investigation from ballooning out of his control.
According to the New York Times, when Trump heard the calls from Democrats calling for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation, he called for the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to lobby Sessions not to step away.
However, when McGahn spoke with Sessions, Sessions explained that career Justice Department officials told him he should step aside.
McGahn backed off.
Taking down Comey
As the investigation loomed over his head, Trump also turned his sights on then-FBI Director James Comey. According to handwritten notes from Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump called Comey to tell him to say publicly that he was not under investigation.
The pattern of behavior emerging in the investigation seems to corroborate the behavior described by Comey himself after his firing. Comey said that Trump had pressured him to stop his investigation and described a series of interactions that deeply troubled him.
What’s more, according to the Times, one of Sessions’ aides reportedly asked a congressional staff member to dig up damaging information on Comey. This was four days before Comey was fired.
At one point, lawyer Uttam Dhillon even misled Trump about whether or not he could fire Comey. Dhillon believed that taking such a step would be obstruction and told Trump that he needed to have cause before he could fire Comey.
The Trump Tower Russia meeting statement
Mueller is also reportedly looking at claims made in a new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. The book claims that Trump dictated from Air Force One the statement that Donald Trump Jr. put out in regards to the meeting he allegedly held with Russians in Trump Tower.
Author Michael Wolff said that Trump’s lawyers believed the statement to be “an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation’s gears.” One spokesperson even quit because he believed the statement constituted obstruction of justice.
These previously unreported events paint a picture of a president desperate to save himself from impending investigation, and an administration doing its best to stop the president from further imperiling himself.
As the investigation continues, more revelations are sure to come out.