Special counsel investigation includes Manafort, may expand to Sessions: report
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Robert Mueller, the newly appointed special counsel in the investigation into Russian election interference, has assumed a separate criminal investigation of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and may soon expand the investigation to include Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsNadler sends Whitaker questions on possible contacts with Trump over Mueller probe Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Martin, Bobby and the will to change MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Rosenstein announced the appointment of Mueller last month. Mueller is a former prosecutor who served 12 years at the helm of the FBI and is respected on both sides of the aisle.

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The investigation has been underway at the FBI for months and appears to be focused heavily on several figures who were prominent in the Trump campaign, including former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and Manafort. 

The Justice Department's own investigation of Manafort and his past business dealings with the Ukraine began ahead of the 2016 election. The FBI only announced its investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in March.

Rosenstein, in a separate interview with AP Friday, acknowledged that Mueller could expand the investigation to include himself and Sessions, adding that if that were to happen he would recuse himself from any oversight of the special counsel. 

“I’ve talked with Director Mueller about this,” Rosenstein told AP. “He’s going to make the appropriate decisions, and if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation then, as Director Mueller and I discussed, if there’s a need from me to recuse I will.”

Rosenstein was under pressure to appoint a special prosecutor last month following the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein appointed Mueller shortly after the firing, and Mueller has since taken over the investigation.

Updated 6:40 p.m.