Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his decision to recommend that FBI Director James B. Comey be fired, calling Comey’s decision to supersede then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch’s authority “stunning.”
“It violates fundamental powers,” Sessions said of Comey’s decision to announce the termination of the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server instead of deferring to Lynch.
When Comey defended that decision publicly to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said, “that was additional confirmation that the director’s thinking was not clear.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex), a member of the Senate leadership, walked Sessions through a timeline of his decision to fire Comey, concluding that because Sessions recused himself from Justice Department probe two months before Comey was dismissed, the Russia probe couldn’t have played a role in his thinking – even if the president said it played a role in his.
Cornyn also quoted Comey’s words back to Sessions, asking whether the former FBI director was right when he said the president can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all.
“Yes, and I think that was probably good for him to say,” Sessions said, remarking that he believed the next FBI director — the administration has named Christopher Wray as Trump’s pick for the job — would be “new and excellent” in the post.
“I think that statement was probably a valuable thing for Director Comey to say, and I appreciate that he did,” Sessions said.