House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe

House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are reportedly seeking testimony from former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMore than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage To understand death behind bars, we need more information MORE as part of their impeachment probe involving President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Democrats would like to ask the former attorney general about his rocky relationship with the president, including pushback over Sessions's decision to recuse himself from the federal Russia probe, a move that long frustrated Trump.

Officials familiar with the discussions told the newspaper that congressional aides for the Judiciary panel contacted Charles Cooper, an attorney for Sessions, over the summer, though Cooper said Sessions would only appear under the force of a subpoena. 

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“I have made clear that Attorney General Sessions will not appear except under compulsion of a congressional subpoena,” he told the Post.

A subpoena for Sessions has yet to be issued.

The Hill has reached out to the Judiciary Committee for comment.

The panel this summer approved several compulsory measures for Trump associates and other former administration officials as they investigate various aspects of the Trump administration.

Democrats pushing to secure Sessions's testimony view him as a key player in episodes of possible obstruction of justice laid out by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE.

Trump requested Sessions's resignation in November 2018 after publicly lambasting his attorney general for months over Sessions's decision to recuse himself in the probe into the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

After Sessions recused himself in March 2017, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats ask judge to force McGahn to comply with subpoena Democrats ask court to force DOJ's hand on Mueller grand jury materials Washington celebrates diplomacy — and baseball — at Meridian Ball MORE became the highest-ranking Justice Department official overseeing the Russia probe. Rosenstein later appointed Mueller to lead the investigation after Trump fired then-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.

Mueller's special counsel investigation led to indictments of several Trump associates and hung over his administration for its first two years. 

Democrats would likely ask Sessions about any blowback he received from the president over his recusal and any additional knowledge he may have of the episodes of potential obstruction laid out in Mueller’s report.

The Post noted that the White House could try to block his testimony, as it has with several other current and former officials.

The news of Democrats’ efforts to obtain testimony from Sessions comes after the judiciary panel voted to expand its powers to investigate Trump while it mulls launching formal impeachment proceedings.