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 SessionsLewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony MORE asked a Capitol Hill staffer if they had any damaging information about former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBarr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' James Comey shows our criminal justice system works as intended Trump says he's 'very strongly' considering commuting Rod Blagojevich's sentence 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 TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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 RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' 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 MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report 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 ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.