Jeff Sessions may have ordered the firing of James Comey in what could be a direct violation of his recusal from matters related to the Russian investigation, a new report claims.
The attorney general had officially recused himself from matters related to the investigation of Donald Trump’s campaign and its potential ties to Russia, but a new report claims that he may have been behind the firing of the man in charge of that investigation.
Comey was fired in May after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo critical of Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, a memo that became Donald Trump’s official rationale for firing Comey. But a new report from independent journalist Louise Mensch claimed that the memo was actually the idea of Jeff Sessions, who also ordered Rosenstein to write a separate memo backing Comey.
“According to sources with links to the Justice Department and intelligence community, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was ordered by Russian hacking suspect, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to write two separate memos regarding Director Comey; one that argued for Comey’s strengths as FBI Director and the second, which Sessions used in his obstruction of justice to fire Director Comey.”
If the report is true, that would mean Jeff Sessions is on the hook for obstructing justice by misusing Rosenstein’s memo, Mensch reported. That would back Donald Trump’s insistence that he did not obstruct with the Russia investigation.
That misuse of the memos struck a sore spot with Rosenstein, Mensch went on to report.
“The Deputy Attorney General made a point of saying that even in his ‘negative’ memo, he would not recommend that Donald Trump fire Director Comey,” she wrote. “On the night James Comey was fired by Trump, using the Sessions memos, Rosenstein had to be persuaded not to resign himself, so angered was he that Jeff Sessions had tricked him and misused only one of his two memos.”
The report, which has since gone viral online and generated quite a bit of attention in the hours since it was published, could be taken with a grain of salt. While Mensch has reported some aspects of the Russia investigations before they reached more mainstream media, she has also published many other aspects yet to be verified and others that turned out to be false.
She and a small group of others who share inside information have gained a following among the more left-leaning conspiracy theorists, but there are plenty of critics of their work as well. Daily Kos writer Bob Johnson noted that this group of anti-Trump writers, which also includes former Clinton White House staffer Claude Taylor, are not credible.
“Taylor’s circle jerk of retweeters includes something called Palmer Report which appears to be a left-leaning version of Infowars or Breitbart complete with promotion of unfounded rumors and wacky conspiracy theories, and the ever-present Louise Mensch, an off-the-rails British conservative prone to conspiracy theories.”
But their track record of breaking a number of stories related to the Russia investigation has been able to garner them a dedicated following, and helped the report about Jeff Sessions go viral on Sunday.
While the report that Jeff Sessions ordered Rod Rosenstein to write two memos on James Comey has yet to be verified elsewhere, the attorney general has found himself in other controversies in recent weeks including reports that he may be closing to resigning.
The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump is furious at Jeff Sessions for his recusal and the ramping up of the Russia investigation that followed, and CNN reported that the two had some heated exchanges.
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