The Justice Department has given Special Counsel Robert Mueller a new treasure trove of documents, ABC News reported Wednesday. Thought to be included in the handover are internal department communications from when Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly offered to resign, as well as from when President Trump reportedly tried to dismiss Mueller.
These documents could illuminate how Trump may have tried to block the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sessions recused himself from the Russia inquiry last March, but ABC News notes that Sessions was one of two Justice Department officials who wrote memos justifying the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump abruptly dismissed while he was leading the bureau’s Russia probe.
Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt just days after the dismissal that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation, though the memos from Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed it was because of the FBI’s treatment of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Comey’s ouster prompted Rosenstein — leading the effort because of Sessions’ recusal — to appoint Mueller to head up the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, a development that reportedly infuriated Trump enough to demand Sessions quit his post, The New York Times reported in September.
Sessions ultimately did not quit, though he did reportedly go so far as to write a letter of resignation. A month later, Trump reportedly sought to fire Mueller but was talked out of it. ABC News reported Wednesday that Mueller possesses communications “produced within the Justice Department during that time, including emails with White House officials.”