Mueller document request puts Trump and Sessions squarely in special counsel’s crosshairs
Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested thousands of documents from the Department of Justice related to the firing of FBI director James Comey that could spell trouble for President Donald Trump.
The document request, first reported by ABC News, is part of Mueller’s examination of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by firing the FBI director overseeing the investigation into his campaign ties to Russia, reported Business Insider.
Mueller’s team asked for emails between the White House and Justice Department related to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe after his undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador were revealed.
“Earlier reports indicated that Trump exploded when he found out about his recusal,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Business Insider. “That could be evidence of his state of mind because it is a highly unusual reaction to a recusal decision.”
Mueller has interviewed some of Trump’s closest aides about the Comey firing on May 8, which White House special counsel Ty Cobb said the president decided to do before the FBI director testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee five days earlier.
Trump was reportedly annoyed with Comey for suggesting the election had been tipped by his decision to tell Congress he was re-examining Hillary Clinton’s emails 11 days before the election.
The president and his aides also reportedly believed Comey had committed “an act of insubordination” by not clearing his testimony with the White House.
Trump consulted with senior adviser Stephen Miller on firing Comey before meeting with Sessions and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who then wrote memos arguing why the FBI director should be fired.
“The sequence of events in which Sessions and Rosenstein met with Trump and the next day transmitted Rosenstein’s memo to the White House shortly before Trump fired Comey, allegedly for the reasons stated in Rosenstein’s memo, places Sessions and Rosenstein at the core of the obstruction inquiry,” William Yeomans, a former deputy assistant attorney general, told Business Insider.
Trump met in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S. the day after firing Comey, whom he called a “nutjob” and told the dignitaries he relieved “great pressure” on himself.
He also told NBC News’ Lester Holt that “the Russia thing” had been on his mind when firing Comey.
Trump also asked Comey for his loyalty during a private meeting, according to the FBI director, and also asked him to consider dropping the investigation of disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn.