Attorney General Jeff Sessions spent several hours being grilled by the special counsel’s office last week as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday.
This is the first time that investigators for the special counsel are known to have interviewed a Cabinet member. Sessions is thought to be the highest-ranking Trunp administration official to be interviewed to date.
The meeting comes as Robert Mueller looks into whether President Trump’s actions in office, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, constituted obstruction of justice.
Sessions 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.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.