Sessions aide sought damaging info on Comey before his firing: report

Sessions aide sought damaging info on Comey before his firing: report
© Camille Fine

An aide to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe problem for Trump appointees Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump Trump learns to love acting officials MORE asked a Capitol Hill staffer if they had any damaging information about former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWashington in frenzy over release of Mueller report Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents MORE just days before his firing, according to a new report.

The New York Times reports that in the days following Comey’s May testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, an aide to Sessions asked a congressional staff member whether they had information on Comey that could be damaging, reportedly in an attempt to undermine the then-FBI director.

A person with knowledge of the meeting told the newspaper that Sessions wanted to see a negative article about Comey in the press every day.

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The Justice Department disputed the account of the meeting in a statement to newspaper, saying it “did not happen and would not happen.”

The meeting reportedly occurred just days before President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE fired Comey in May.

The White House said Trump fired the FBI chief based on the recommendation of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report Mueller won't attend Barr press conference on report Schumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report MORE, who wrote in a letter that he "cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken."

However, Trump said during a later interview with NBC News that the investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia was on his mind when he fired the FBI director.

Trump reportedly intended to send a letter to Comey before his firing describing the Russia investigation as “fabricated and politically motivated,” according to The New York Times, but was stopped by aides.

The newspaper also reported Thursday that Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to prevent Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

When McGahn failed, Trump was reportedly furious and told White House officials he needed Sessions to protect him.

Sessions’s recusal led to Rosenstein appointing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to head the Russia probe.

Mueller’s probe has produced charges against four former Trump aides and officials, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFederal judge considers setting ex-Obama counsel's trial for August: reports Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump Ex-Obama counsel pleads not guilty to charges tied to Ukraine lobbying MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.