By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — A group of United States Senators is demanding an investigation into the role of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.
In a letter to Department of Justice inspector general Michael Horowitz, the Senators say Sessions may have violated his vow to recuse himself from matters related to the alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 election.
“It is clear that Attorney General Sessions had an active role in the termination of Comey,” the 11 senators wrote.
Among Trump’s justifications for Comey’s dismissal was a May 9 recommendation from Sessions and another from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
“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’,” the Senators say. “At the time of his termination, director Comey was actively leading the FBI’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.”
The letter was spearheaded by Senators Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
“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 letters says. “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 letter says, “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.”
The Senators ask the inspector general to answer the following questions:
To what extent is Attorney General Sessions required to recuse himself from investigations into matters related to the Trump campaign under 28 C.F.R. § 45.2, or any other relevant rules and regulations?
What was the scope of Attorney General Sessions’ publicly announced March 2, 2017 recusal?
What is the timeline of Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in the removal of FBI director James Comey? Did his involvement in director Comey’s termination violate his recusal agreement or requirements, or other DOJ rules, regulations, and precedents?
Top House Democrats raised similar questions last week, though they directed their inquiries to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Congressman David Cicilline, a Road Island Democrat, also wrote to Horowitz last week, asking him “to begin investigations into whether U.S. Attorney [Preet] Bharara, Acting Attorney General [Sally] Yates, or director Comey were fired due to political considerations or attempts to interfere in an ongoing investigation.”
Many others have expressed outrage over Sessions’ involvement in Comey’s firing.
In a piece this week, The Nation’s John Nichols wrote that Sessions “cannot be allowed to remain in a position he obtained after deceiving the Senate Judiciary Committee and then dishonored by abandoning his own recusal.”
Multiple watchdog groups and media outlets have called for Sessions to step down or be removed, including the New American Journal, a national news organization with a base in Sessions’ home town of Mobile, Alabama, where Donald Trump launched his campaign for president with stadium rallies.
We reiterate, once again, that Mr. Sessions must go, either by voluntarily resigning and retiring from politics or being fired by the president for lying to Congress and now violating his public recusal in the Comey firing matter.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.