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 SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE asked a Capitol Hill staffer if they had any damaging information about former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump asks where is his apology from Comey Sunday shows - Republicans, Democrats maneuver ahead of House impeachment vote Fox's Chris Wallace spars with Comey over Horowitz report 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 TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller 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, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena 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) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 ManafortTrump rails against Fox News for planning interviews with Schiff, Comey How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump DOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.