Sessions calls for ‘fresh start’ for FBI

Sessions calls for ‘fresh start’ for FBI
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Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Key GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum MORE says the FBI needs a "fresh start" to win back the confidence and trust of the American people after two years of controversy surrounding the FBI's investigations of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE.

In an interview with The Washington Examiner published Tuesday, Sessions was asked to respond to the resignation of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeBuck Wild: 'Is President Trump paranoid or is the Deep State out to get him?' Why does Congress keep playing political games on FBI oversight? FBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report MORE, who left the agency last month following months of criticism from Republicans.

“Well, I have believed it was important to have a fresh start at the FBI, and actually, it was in my letter to the president when I recommended Comey's removal," Sessions said. "I used the words, 'fresh start,' and the FBI director is Chris Wray, a very talented, smart, capable leader."

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“I think it will give them an opportunity to go straight to the American people and say, ‘We are gonna win your confidence,’” he added.

When pressed further on voters' confidence in the nation's top law enforcement agency, Sessions said he believed that there had been an "erosion" of trust surrounding the FBI.

“Well, I would just say it this way. The Department of Justice, which includes the FBI, we all, we tend to be defensive. At this point in time, I think we need to go the extra mile to make sure that everything we do is not political," Sessions told the Examiner.

"Everything we do is based on law and facts. And, whether we like it or not, there's been erosion, some, in the confidence of the American people at the FBI and Department of Justice,” he said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray suggested to agents in a memo last week that McCabe's departure was due to an inspector general investigation surrounding the former deputy director's handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Last week, the House Intelligence Committee released a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses committed by the FBI under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a move that infuriated Democrats but has galvanized Republican resistance to the Russia investigation.

Trump himself has been sharply critical of the agency, and last weekend shared an op-ed on Twitter ripping into the FBI over "disturbing" details in the memo.

Last month, the president accused FBI agent Peter Strzok of "treason" for criticizing him in text messages released to the media.