Sessions interviewed in Russia probe

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Ukraine's not the only outrage To understand death behind bars, we need more information White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' 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 John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is likely that Mueller questioned Sessions about Trump's firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien Comey3 reasons why impeachment fatigue has already set in Day 2 impeachment ratings drop by more than 1 million from first day Chris Wallace on Yovanovitch testimony: 'If you're not moved, you don't have a pulse' 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 ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate 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 PapadopoulosKamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill Trump bemoans 'double standard' in Stone conviction 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.