McCabe oversaw criminal probe into Sessions over testimony on Russian contacts: report
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe oversaw a federal investigation last year into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fully forthcoming in his testimony to Congress about his contacts with Russian officials, ABC News reported Wednesday.
Top GOP and Democratic lawmakers learned about the probe last year in a private briefing with McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The probe has since been closed.
Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he fired McCabe on Friday night, according to ABC News. Sessions fired the FBI official for not being fully forthcoming with investigators and for making an unauthorized disclosure to the media.
McCabe has claimed that he was fired to try and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference.
During a confirmation hearing, Sessions had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had not been in contact with Russian officials about the 2016 election and that he was “not aware” of any other Trump campaign associates being in touch with the Russian government.
However, The Washington Post reported two months after Sessions’s testimony that the then-Alabama senator had met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. He said that he did not recall the meeting at first, but did so after reading news coverage about the contact.
McCabe reportedly opened the probe after then-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to the FBI asking the agency to investigate all of Sessions’s contacts with Russians and to determine “whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.”
Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation at the time of the criminal probe into his statements.
Mueller’s team interviewed Sessions two months ago, Sessions’s lawyer said.
Sessions has said that he did meet with the Russian official, but that none of the meetings had anything to do with the Trump campaign, to which he acted as a foreign policy adviser.
“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” Sessions’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, told ABC News.
A representative for McCabe declined to comment to ABC.