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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 SessionsRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds Sen. Hawley tramples the 2020 vote in his run to 2024 MORE asked a Capitol Hill staffer if they had any damaging information about former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey: Biden should consider pardoning Trump Comey: 'Greatest punishment' for Trump after Capitol riot is to 'move past' his presidency Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office 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 TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit 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 RosensteinRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members 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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 ManafortNo pardon for Trump Michael Cohen predicts people Trump pardoned may testify against him Roger Stone thanked Trump for pardon during exchange at West Palm Beach club MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.