Sessions interviewed in Russia probe

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s team as part of the Justice Department's investigation into Russian election meddling.

The Justice Department confirmed a report in The New York Times that Sessions was questioned for several hours. It is the first time that Mueller’s team has interviewed a member of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s Cabinet.

Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March, despite criticism from Trump. It was reported earlier this month that Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to block Sessions from recusing himself, but the attorney general refused.

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It is likely that Mueller questioned Sessions about Trump's firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April MORE and whether the president obstructed justice. 

Sessions recommended that Trump fire Comey over the handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE’s private email server, but Comey has said he thinks the president fired him for refusing to drop the FBI's investigation into Michael Flynn.

Mueller's team announced in December that Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, had pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and was cooperating with their investigation.

Sessions has also been under scrutiny for statements he made during his confirmation hearing, when he told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that he had no knowledge of communications between the Trump campaign and Russia and that he had not communicated with Russians himself. 

It was later reported that Sessions had met three times with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the election, which he said was done in his capacity as a senator from Alabama.

Sessions later testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee in November that his previous statements were truthful.

He acknowledged that he participated in a meeting with former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians and attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russians, according to documents unsealed in Mueller’s probe.

Sessions testified that he did not have any “clear recollection” of what Papadopoulos said at the meeting. 

“After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government,” Sessions said during his November testimony.

“Out of respect for the special and his process, and because of the privacy obligations we owe to potential or actual witnesses, the White House does not comment on witness appearances before the special counsel,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb said in a statement on Tuesday.

--Jordan Fabian contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:49 a.m.