Late last year, lawyers for President Donald Trump expressed optimism that special counsel Robert Mueller was nearing the end of his probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But if there was hope in the White House that Trump might be moving past an investigation that has dogged his presidency from the start, 2018 is beginning without signs of abatement. In fact, the new year set off a flurry of developments in the probes by Mueller and Congress ranging in importance from the trivial to the ominous.
Some recent events suggest Trump’s Russia woes aren’t going away anytime soon:
In a remarkable broadside against a fellow conservative, two Republican House members called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, criticizing his Justice Department for not cooperating with Congress and for leaks related to its Russia investigation.
Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio criticized Sessions in an opinion piece published Jan. 4 on the Washington Examiner’s website. The headline said: “It’s time for Jeff Sessions to go.”
They wrote that Sessions “has recused himself from the Russia investigation, but it would appear he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world.”
Sessions, who was part of Trump’s presidential campaign, stepped aside last year from the department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, later appointed Mueller to take over the probe. A Sessions resignation would allow Trump to appoint a new attorney general, who would assume oversight of the probe from Rosenstein.
A day after the lawmakers’ opinion piece, it emerged that Trump had tried to keep Sessions from recusing himself. The report that Trump directed his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to press Sessions just before he announced he would step aside added a new layer for the investigation.
The episode is known to Mueller and his team of…