New Report tonight from the NYTimes and Lawrence O’Donnell on about Trump’s reaction to Sessions’ recusal of himself from the Russian investigation. UPDATE: Times article is here
The video from the Lawrence O’Donnell show is at this link (it won’t embed) and the tapes, which post-date the discussion, take place in July as I noted in the very title. Someone on Facebook asked me to provide a link from last night when no links were available, I had simply heard the show and the tapes. You have to hit the story on “Report: Sessions Key Witness in Mueller Investigation. The link itself won’t take you directly to the video.
Sessions flew to Florida very early in Trump’s term because he heard that Trump would soon release the travel ban and Sessions had not seen it. Sessions flew because Trump refused to take his calls from Washington. Sessions, refused to be shut out and flew to Florida to address Trump directly. However, when Sessions got to Florida, he found out that Trump didn’t want to discuss the extremely important travel ban into the United States. Instead Trump berated Sessions, wanting only to discuss Sessions’ recusal.
And now the key to the obstruction of justice charge, Trump ordered Sessions to reverse himself on the recusal, stating precisely: “I need you to reverse your recusal.”
Sessions refused. At that point, Trump threw a temper-tantrum, talking about needing to fire Sessions because Sessions refused a direct order to reverse himself.
The recusal was proper and the absolute minimum Sessions could do, given the fact that Sessions was already known to be a key witness to the Russian investigation, having met with Russian officials as a Trump campaign “advisor” and lying to Congress about his meetings with Russians.
Thus, the recusal was the only way to save his job as Attorney General, a job that Sessions dreamed of throughout his life. Sessions has real friends among Senate Republicans who would truly back him if this matter comes up in Mueller’s report. Senate Republicans have apparently told the president that they would not confirm a new Attorney General if he fires Sessions. Though Sessions will not reverse his recusal, and therefore will not fire Rosenstein, he likely will not turn on Trump, either, in Mueller’s investigation.
That makes the obstruction of justice charge critical if Russian collusion cannot be proven due to all the “I don’t recalls,” Mueller heard.
The “need” to have Sessions protection regarding the Russian investigation practically screams that Trump has a great deal to hide.
And this time there are tapes!
A tape exists from July of 2017 of Trump complaining once again about Sessions recusal (though he has said about as much publicly), Trump complained that Sessions should have told him that he would recuse himself, because Trump would have picked someone else. Like Comey, it appears Trump needed someone loyal, which in Trump world means protection from the Russian investigation.
If the president ordered Sessions to reverse himself on the recusal for the sole reason to protect Trump from the Russian investigation, i.e. stop the investigation altogether, if that happened and it is not obstruction of justice, than I do not know what is.
More as the story develops.