U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly instructed the White House’s top lawyer to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to the New York Times, President Trump wanted to ensure that Sessions remained in charge of the Russia probe, because he was counting on his attorney general to shield him.
But despite the best efforts of White House counsel Don McGahn, Sessions could not be convinced, causing Trump to have an angry outburst in front of several aides.
It’s one of numerous episodes uncovered by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigates whether Trump acted to obstruct the FBI’s Russia investigation, the Times reports.
The Times also reports that White House aides had to stop Trump from sending a letter to former FBI director James Comey, in which he slammed the Russia investigation as “fabricated and politically motivated.”
WATCH: Trump furious at Bannon after calling Russian meetings ‘treasonous’
Then, in early May, one of Sessions’ aides reportedly approached a Capitol Hill staffer in search of dirt on Comey, because Sessions wanted to see one negative story about Comey per day in the news media, the Times reports.
This conversation, which the Justice Department denies, reportedly took place just days before Trump fired Comey on May 9.
Sessions recused himself from the federal investigation into Russian election meddling in March, following revelations that he had communicated with Moscow’s U.S. envoy during the presidential campaign.
Trump would later label Sessions’ decision to recuse himself as “very unfair to the president.”
WATCH: Donald Trump says Sessions’ recusal is ‘unfair to the presidency’
In a July interview with the New York Times, the president said he would never have appointed Sessions as attorney general had he known that the former U.S. senator from Alabama would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
— With files from the Associated Press