Former 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 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 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, according to 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.
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 PriebusWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies 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 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.
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 BarrBill BarrBarr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' 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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE had not found sufficient evidence to prove obstruction of justice on the part of the president.