According to a half dozen lawmakers and aides, President Donald Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to answer questions during a closed congressional hearing Thursday when asked if President Donald Trump ever instructed him to hinder the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Democratic lawmakers in attendance.
For a president to intervene in a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides is highly unusual.
Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, the intelligence committee chairman, said Trump told him he was eager to see an investigation overshadowing much of the first year of his presidency come to an end.
It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible.’”
Senator Burr said he replied to Trump “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.”
In addition, Trump told Republican Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader, and Roy Blunt, of Missouri and a member of the intelligence committee, to end the investigation swiftly.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who is a former chairwoman of the intelligence committee, said Trump’s requests were “inappropriate” and represented a breach of the separation of powers.
It is pressure that should never be brought to bear by an official when the legislative branch is in the process of an investigation.”
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