Pages 48-51

The president tried to stop Jeff Session from recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

“On March 1, 2017, the press reported that, in his January confirmation hearing to become Attorney General, Senator Sessions had not disclosed two meetings he had with Russian Ambassador Kislyak before the presidential election, leading to congressional calls for Sessions to recuse or for a special counsel to investigate Russia’s interference in the presidential election.”

“The next morning, the President called McGahn and urged him to contact Sessions to tell him not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. McGahn understood the President to be concerned that a recusal would make Sessions look guilty for omitting details in his confirmation hearing; leave the President unprotected from an investigation that could hobble the presidency and derail his policy objectives; and detract from favorable press coverage of a Presidential Address to Congress the President had delivered earlier in the week.”

“That weekend, Sessions and McGahn flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with the President. Sessions recalled that the President pulled him aside to speak to him alone and suggested that Sessions should ‘unrecuse’ from the Russia investigation. The President contrasted Sessions with Attorneys General Holder and Kennedy, who had developed a strategy to help their presidents where Sessions had not. Sessions said he had the impression that the President feared that the investigation could spin out of control and disrupt his ability to govern, which Sessions could have helped avert if he were still overseeing it.”

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