US Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioned in Russia probe | News | DW | 24.01.2018
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US Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioned in Russia probe

The US attorney general was questioned last week as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, officials confirmed. Sessions is the first cabinet member to be interviewed over alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia.

The US Justice Department confirmed on Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week as part of an investigation into potential collusion between Russia and US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Sessions was questioned for several hours last week by special counsel Robert Mueller's office, which is overseeing the investigation.

Read moreSteve Bannon 'subpoenaed as part of Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation'

Sessions is the highest-ranking Trump administration official and the first cabinet member to be questioned in the probe. He has repeatedly downplayed allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump.

Last year, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after acknowledging that he had two previously undisclosed encounters with Russia's ambassador to the US during the campaign.

Along with investigating alleged Russian meddling in the US election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign team, Mueller's office is also probing whether Trump's actions constitute efforts to obstruct the FBI probe — particularly his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Sessions is seen as a potentially important witness in Comey's firing due to the Justice Department's role in Trump's decision.

Read moreTrump's ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort sues Justice Department over Russia probe

Watch video 02:32

US Attorney General Sessions denies lying to Congress

Republicans accuse FBI of bias

Mueller's investigation has also come under fire for being possibly biased against Trump following reports that two people on the investigation expressed negative views of the president.

The Justice Department admitted that it lost some five months of text messages sent between the two FBI investigators— agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page. In thousands of texts that were able to be retrieved, the two referred to Trump as an "idiot" and a "loathsome human."

Trump accused the FBI of bias, saying it was "one of the biggest stories in a long time."

Read moreDeutsche Bank 'subpoenaed to provide Trump accounts data'

Republicans are calling for a second independent investigation to run parallel to Muellers' into the FBI's decision not to press charges against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server.

Mueller, a former FBI director, has already issued indictments for several Trump campaign officials and former aides.

rs/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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