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 SessionsTrump looms as flashpoint in Alabama Senate battle Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms MORE asked a Capitol Hill staffer if they had any damaging information about former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBlagojevich heaps praise on Trump after release from prison Free Roger Stone The Hill's Morning Report - In Nevada, bets on Sanders, eyes on Bloomberg 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 TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants 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 RosensteinGraham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts 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 MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 ManafortFree Roger Stone Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr Maxine Waters blasts Trump as 'mafia boss' over Stone case MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.