US Attorney General Jeff Sessions interviewed in Russia probe

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US attorney general is first of Trump's Cabinet members to be interviewed

WASHINGTON: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for hours last week by the special counsel's office investigating collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

The interview is the first time that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office is known to have interviewed a member of Mr Trump's Cabinet.

Mr Trump's personal lawyers and Mr Mueller's team have been discussing the possibility of an interview with the president, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Mr Mueller's office also interviewed former FBI director James Comey shortly after Mr Trump fired him in May. MrComey's firing led to Mr Mueller's appointment to take over the FBI's Russia investigation.

Mr Sessions was the first senator to endorse Mr Trump's candidacy and was a campaign adviser before the Republican president appointed him as the top US law enforcement official.

Mr Trump openly criticised Mr Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia probe last March after media reports that he had failed to disclose 2016 meetings with Moscow's then-ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Mr Mueller's team is expected to be interested in meetings between Mr Sessions and Mr Kislyak, as well as his involvement in Mr Trump's firing of Mr Comey, an episode central to the question of whether Mr Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.

Mr Trump has dismissed questions about Mr Sessions' interview, telling reporters: "I'm not at all concerned."

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaignto tilt the race in favour of Mr Trump. Russia has denied it.

Mr Trump has denied any collusion with Russia, and has called Mr Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt". - REUTERS