Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump pressured Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reclaim control of the Russia investigation on at least four separate occasions, three times in person and once over the phone, sources familiar with the conversations told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
Why it matters: The fact that there were multiple conversations shows that Trump's pressure on Sessions to stop recusing himself was heavier than previously known.
The details: Two sources familiar with the conversations told Swan the president never, to their knowledge, ordered Sessions to cancel his recusal from the Russia investigation. Instead, he asked Sessions whether he’d “thought about” un-recusing himself.
What we're hearing: The New York Times this week reported on one of these conversations— which occurred at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017 — and said Robert Mueller is investigating it. But Trump’s other direct conversations with Sessions about the subject have not been previously reported.
President Trump's decision to pardon Dinesh D'Souza today is the latest in a series of pardons by the president, with more potentially on the way.
His pardon sheet:
The intrigue: Trump is considering clemency for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart, he told reporters today on Air Force One.
Be smart: Intentionally or not, today’s flurry reminds people in Mueller’s sights, who may be thinking about cooperating, about Trump’s pardon power.