In today’s installment of the James Comey fallout, now the Washington Post reports a group of Senate Democrats are calling for a deep investigation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions allegedly had an “active role” in Comey’s dismissal, which violates his recusal of the alleged Russia election connection.
The letter was dated Tuesday, addressed to General Michael E. Horowitz, the Inspector General for the Department of Justice. It was drafted on behalf of 11 Senators, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal.
“It is clear that Attorney General Sessions had an active role in the termination of Director Comey,” the letter states. “This seems to be in direct violation of Attorney General Sessions’ recusal from ‘any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.’ At the time of his termination, Director Comey was actively leading the F.B.I.’s investigations into both the attempts by the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, and the ties of members/employees/representatives of the Trump Campaign had, or have, with the Russian government or Russian intelligence services.”
Earlier this year, Sessions faced scrutiny for failing to disclose his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while working on the Trump campaign. Sessions said the interactions with the Russian official were the routine work of a Senator and had no bearing on his work as part of a political campaign. But, the fact that he failed to mention this during his confirmation hearings left him suspect. He was then asked to recuse himself from all further investigation regarding a potential Russian connection to the 2016 election.
But, now FBI Director James Comey’s abrupt removal from office is under investigation. Comey has been asked to appear before a Senate Intelligence Committee to explain what he knew about a Russia connection to the election. Some government officials are concerned that Trump’s decision to fire him had to do with an ongoing FBI investigation into the Russia allegations. They have asked Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to submit any records of interactions between the deposed director and the president and Comey to testify. Some of the rumored records would allege that the president asked Comey to back off from part of an investigation, namely the odd resignation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Such a request, according to lawmakers, would constitute “obstruction of justice,” and is grounds for impeachment.
However, now it appears that Sessions took a role in Comey’s firing. In a letter written by Sessions on May 9, he told White House officials that the FBI leadership needed a “fresh start,” and recommended Comey’s dismissal.
According to White House officials, it was Comey’s lack of loyalty and overall judgment that displeased the president. These officials allege that a meeting was called with Sessions and Comey’s supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to make a case in writing as for why Comey had to go. However, reports allege that the president had already made up his mind, he just needed concrete reasons. The letter was written that day and the next day, Comey was fired.
In the termination letter, Trump mentioned having the recommendations of the other two officials. In the last several days, the White House tried to understand the decision and could only point to the recommendations. This narrative caused Rosenstein to threaten to resign, as he believed it was the decision of the president not his own.
Trump pointed to the handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail use as the reason for the firing, which he believed eroded public trust in the government and intelligence community.
“He wasn’t doing a good job,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “Very simple. He wasn’t doing a good job.”
By “good job,” some officials state, Trump meant, in particular, the director’s lack of willingness to address the alleged wiretapping of Trump’s phone by then-President Obama. He also did not care for the amount of attention the FBI was giving to the Russia investigation, rather than the leaks of classified information, or highly sensitive information to journalists that were undermining his presidency. Trump officials wanted the leaks prioritized at least. But Comey’s continued statements increased the publicity of the Russia probe instead. The tension in the few months that Comey worked with the Trump administration increased tremendously until Trump finally fired him.
Sam Nunberg, who was a political advisor to Trump, thinks that it was about time and that overall, the FBI Director had no respect for the president. “James Comey made the mistake of thinking that just because he announced the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, he had unfettered job security. In my opinion, the president should have fired Comey the day he was sworn in,” he told the Washington Post.
However, because Comey’s firing is currently considered part of the ongoing investigation into Russia-Election controversy, now Sessions is being dragged into the investigation.
“It is imperative that the American people have faith in the institutions that are investigating the influence a hostile foreign power may have had on our presidential campaign, election, and the current administration of President Trump,” the letter continued. “We believe the Attorney General’s involvement in the termination of Director Comey has injected the exact “partiality” in these investigations he claimed to wish to avoid. Further, the President’s recent admission that Comey was fired, at least in part, due to the Russia investigation only raises further questions about the role of the Attorney General in the termination, his willingness to provide cover for a political decision, and both his and the Department of Justice’s ability to perform an independent investigation.”
Now, it’s become all out war between factions of the government. It seems we have barely scratched the surface of the investigations and they are all here to stay. And Trump’s only been the President for about four months.