Bharara: If NYT story on Sessions is true, ‘he must go now’

Former U.S. Attorney Preet BhararaPreetinder (Preet) Singh BhararaGOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Preet Bharara questions whether Trump will respect ‘presidential alert’ system Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters MORE said Friday that if a recent report in The New York Times that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDem leaders request formal update from DOJ on whether Whitaker should recuse himself Christie: Trump has not asked me to be attorney general Pelosi: 'What Mueller might not think is indictable could be impeachable' MORE sought negative press coverage of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHow Trump can pull off ultimate trick to make Mueller disappear Comey talked about sensitive FBI matters on personal email: report With Matthew Whitaker playing Roy Cohn, DOJ could be Trump’s personal law firm MORE is true, he must be ousted from the Justice Department.

"If true-emphasis on IF- Sessions must go. Now," Bharara, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by Trump in March, wrote on Twitter. 

The New York Times reported Thursday night that an aide to Sessions had asked a congressional staffer in May for damaging information about Comey, who was fired by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Cohen: I pray Michelle Obama's words will unite country again Michelle Obama: ‘I stopped even trying to smile’ during Trump’s inauguration Trump wants to end federal relief money for Puerto Rico: report MORE days later. According to that report, Sessions wanted one negative news story each day about the then-FBI chief. 

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Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, denied the account described in the Times report.

“This did not happen and would not happen,” she told the Times. “Plain and simple.”

Before his ouster, Comey was leading the law enforcement investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Sessions recused himself from overseeing that investigation in March, after The Washington Post reported that he had failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during Trump's 2016 campaign.

According to the report, Trump sent a lawyer to lobby Sessions not to recuse himself from the probe, and was furious after he did. 

- This report was updated at 1:26 p.m. EST