Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed for hours last week in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday.
The interview comes as Mueller is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s actions in office, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, constituted obstruction of justice. Mueller is also investigating contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
Sessions is thought to be the highest-ranking Trump administration official to be interviewed by Mueller’s team.
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He is seen as a potentially important witness given that Trump initially said he fired Comey last May at the recommendation of the Justice Department.
At the time, the White House released a memo from Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, faulting Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and appearing to lay the groundwork for his dismissal.
Trump has since said he was thinking of “the Russia thing” when he fired Comey.
Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in early March after acknowledging that he had had two previously undisclosed encounters with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He said it would be improper for him to oversee a probe into a campaign for which he was a vocal and prominent supporter.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, to take over the Russia investigation one week after Comey was fired.
Sessions’ interview was first reported by The New York Times.