Sessions interviewed in Russia probe

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez call for convention to decide Puerto Rico status MORE was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests 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 ComeyDemocrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate Book: FBI sex crimes investigator helped trigger October 2016 public probe of Clinton emails Trump jabs at FBI director over testimony on Russia, antifa 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 ClintonDemocratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida The Hill's Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day More than 50 Latino faith leaders endorse Biden 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 PapadopoulosTale of two FBI cases: Clinton got warned, Trump got investigated Trump says he would consider pardons for those implicated in Mueller investigation New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification 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.