Mueller: For months, Sessions carried a resignation letter whenever he visited White House

Mueller: For months, Sessions carried a resignation letter whenever he visited White House
© Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms NSA whistleblower petitions Trump for clemency Alabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' MORE carried a resignation letter with him every time he visited the White House for months as he became more and more a target of criticism from President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE, according to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan 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.

Mueller said in his full report, released with redactions on Thursday morning, that Trump unsuccessfully sought to get Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.


In July 2017, Trump asked then-chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusMick Mulvaney's job security looks strong following impeachment CNN's Harwood on Trump acquittal speech: 'This is somebody in deep psychological distress' Reince Priebus joins CBS News as political analyst MORE to secure Sessions's resignation, according to Mueller. Priebus said he told the president he would get the attorney general to resign, but did not intend to follow through.

Priebus said he called the president the same day and sought to explain that the Russia investigation would persist whether Sessions was there or not.

Trump relented on his request for Sessions's resignation, according to Priebus, but began criticizing him on Twitter, calling him "beleaguered," and "weak" toward potential wrongdoing by former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Bernie Sanders's Super Tuesday problem Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength MORE.

Sessions's former chief of staff, Jody Hunt, told investigators that "in light of the President's frequent public attacks, Sessions prepared another resignation letter and for the rest of the year carried it with him in his pocket every time he went to the White House."

The details came as part of the special counsel's review of whether Trump obstructed justice in his efforts to curtail the investigation. Mueller ultimately decided to neither implicate nor exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice.

“[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report states.

Trump went on to ramp up his criticism of Sessions over the following year, focusing largely on the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. He regularly excoriated Sessions on Twitter and in on-the-record interviews.

The president fired Sessions after November's midterm elections. He ultimately nominated William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump says he has 'total confidence' in Barr In defense of William Barr Trump suggests he may sue over Mueller investigation MORE to replace him.

Barr held a press conference on Thursday morning in which he announced Mueller had found "no collusion,” and that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinGraham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE had not found sufficient evidence to prove obstruction of justice on the part of the president.