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 Sessions Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report MORE as part of their impeachment probe involving President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad 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) 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.

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 RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst 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 ComeyHow conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide Bolton book sells 780,000 copies in first week, set to surpass 1M copies printed The Seila Law case: Liberty and political firing 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.