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Defending His Honor, Jeff Sessions Highlights His Dishonesty

The attorney general dodges questions about his phony excuse for firing the FBI director.

C-SPANC-SPANYesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his honor before the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejecting the "appalling and detestable lie" that "I participated in any collusion that I was aware of, any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process."

But Sessions' testimony highlighted his decidedly dishonorable collusion with President Trump in the clumsy attempt to cover up the real reasons for firing FBI Director James Comey last month.

Sessions said it was "absurd" to suggest that he should have kept his distance from that decision given its apparent connection to the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the presidential election. Sessions recused himself from that investigation in March after he was criticized for failing to disclose his contacts with Russian officials to the senators who confirmed him as attorney general.

In his Senate testimony last week, Comey questioned Sessions' involvement in his dismissal, citing the recusal. "If, as the president said, I was fired because of the Russia investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain?" he said. "I don't know."

Sessions testified that he bowed out of the Russia investigation, which includes possible ties between Russian operatives and the president's associates, because of the role he had played in Trump's campaign. "I recused myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing," he said, "but because a Department of Justice regulation...required it. That regulation states in effect that department employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they served as a campaign adviser."

That recusal, Sessions said, had nothing to do with decisions about who should head the FBI. "It is absurd, frankly, to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render the attorney general unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations," he said.

Sessions played a key role in the official narrative of Comey's dismissal by endorsing the conclusions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a memo criticizing the way Comey had handled the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's email practices as secretary of state.

Rosenstein said Comey had treated Clinton unfairly and broken with longstanding policy by announcing the results of the investigation at a press conference and by publicly reopening the investigation 11 days before the election. "Based on my evaluation, and for the reasons expressed by the Deputy Attorney General in the attached memorandum," Sessions said in a May 9 letter to Trump, "I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI."

Sessions' transparently phony rationale for firing Comey, which contradicted his own public defenses of the FBI director's controversial decisions regarding the Clinton investigation, was merely window dressing for a decision Trump had already made, as the president himself admitted two days later in an interview with NBC News.

In the same interview, Trump confirmed that the Russia investigation, which he had called a "taxpayer-funded charade" on Twitter the day before sacking Comey, was on his mind at the time. "When I decided to just do it," he said, "I said to myself...this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won."

In an exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) yesterday, Sessions declined to address the real reasons for firing Comey:

Feinstein: Mr. Rosenstein, in a statement to the House of Representatives, essentially told them he learned on May 8th President Trump intended to remove Director Comey. When you wrote your letter on May 9, did you know that the president had already decided to fire Director Comey?

Sessions: Senator Feinstein, I would say I believe it has been made public that the president asked us our opinion, and it was given, and he asked us to put that in writing. I don't know how much more he said than that, but he talked about it and I would let his words speak for themselves....

Feinstein: I'm puzzled about the recommendation because the decision had been made. What was the need for you to write a recommendation?

Sessions: Well, we were asked our opinion, and when we expressed it, which was consistent with the letter we wrote, I felt comfortable, and I guess the deputy attorney general did too, in providing that information in writing.

Feinstein: Do you concur with the president he was going to fire Comey regardless of [the] recommendation because the problem was the Russian investigation?

Sessions: Senator Feinstein, I will have to let his words speak for himself. I'm not sure what was in his mind explicitly when we talked to him.

Sessions refused to discuss any conversations he may have had with Trump regarding the president's motive for firing Comey, saying those exchanges are "confidential" and might be covered by a future assertion of executive privilege. Trump's motive is obviously relevant to the charge that he was trying to obstruct justice by impeding the FBI probe.

Sessions' unapologetic participation in concealing Trump's motive is just as obviously relevant to the attorney general's claim that he is a man of honesty and integrity.

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Feinstein: I'm puzzled

    Honesty in Washington at last!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Just get rid of this statist asshole already. For whatever excuse. He should DIAF.

  • WakaWaka||

    I know its hard to give up on the Russian fever dreams, because that would require your colleagues in the media to admit that the American people are right to distrust them, but this is getting beyond ridiculous. Russian collusion has fallen apart and there is no 'there, there' (even according to Chris Matthews), so now the media is desperate to find something nefarious.

    If you were responsible with the space that you were given here you would highlight how inept this administration is. How the danger of this administration is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theory that has been concocted by partisans without any evidence except anonymous rumors, but instead the fact that this president behaves inappropriately with his subordinates. That this president request 'loyalty pledges' from career bureaucrats. That this president is so small that he has his cabinet gather around on camera and praise him. That this president is so self-absorbed and so entrenched in media narratives that he fires his FBI Director for not pushing back against false media reports (mainly that the president is not under investigation). That this brash novice is ignorant about governmental protocol and that his subordinates seem to lack the spine to correct him.

  • Ken Shultz||

    After reading this article, I still don't understand the problem.

    There was more than one reason to fire Comey. His handling of the Russia investigation, his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, dissent against him from within the FBI, and others--those were all good reasons to fire Comey.

    I have no problem with Trump and or Sessions firing Comey for any one or all of those reasons.

    Even if it were only about the Russia investigation, why should Trump leave someone at the FBI who's bound and determined to hamstring his administration with an investigation about hacking--for which there is no evidence? And then Comey admittedly leaked to his friend at Colombia in the hope of getting a special counsel appointed?

    Why should the Trump administration keep anyone on the team who's actively trying to undermine them? Comey was worse than a cancer in the locker room; he was actively trying to throw the game!

    You fire people in that situation.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The left needs the exact reason, so they can attack it effectively. Multiple reasons makes the attack harder and time is money here!

    Who cares that Comey did not do his job by finding probable cause that Hillary violated federal law but then did not recommend indictment.

    Who cares that the left blamed Comey around the election and said he should be fired.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh yeah and Comey admitted to leaking documents during the Trump Administration's tenure.

    Why wouldn't Trump fire Comey?

  • BYODB||

    Mark Levin has been making interesting points in that it's possible Comey was always the 'anonymous' source in many of the NYT and WaPo articles. If not the only leaker, at the very least it's possible that other leaks citing 'top officials in the DoJ' could very well have been referring to Comey.

  • Stephen54321||

    loveconstitution1789: "Comey admitted to leaking documents during the Trump Administration's tenure."

    Are you claiming Trump knew about that when he fired Comey?

    If Trump had had a legitimate reason he wouldn't have got Rosenstein to draft a letter with a rationale (Comey being mean to Hillary--"Crooked Hillary" to use Trump's own words) that nobody believed from the get-go because it contradicted all the available evidence--and Trump himself diverged from in the Lester Holt interview.

    That interview demonstrated that that letter's rationale was a fabrication intended to hide the real reason.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I don't think Trump has said that he knew Comey was leaking info. I think Obama knew. Obama was leaving, so it would just help undermine Trump. Trump was assuming the presidency, finding out how corrupt the bureaucrats are and needed time to find out what was what.

    The letter was a clear use of someone deemed objective to publicly justify firing Comey. Trump did not need a reason to fire Comey but there were many good reasons.

    In the end, Trump will still dismantle the Nanny-State as best he can.

    P.S. Hillary lost!

  • Stephen54321||

    loveconstitution178: " I think Obama knew. Obama was leaving, so it would just help undermine Trump."

    Who's your evidence for that?

    loveconstitution178: "Trump was assuming the presidency, finding out how corrupt the bureaucrats are and needed time to find out what was what."

    Are you suggesting Trump was himself as pure as the driven snow? The same Donald Trump who had just paid $25 million in a court settlement for de-frauding students of Trump University?

    loveconstitution178: "Trump did not need a reason to fire Comey but there were many good reasons."

    That's a silly statement. To be sure, technically Trump, as president, had no need to give a reason, but politically firing someone as high up as Comey for NO reason would be a a bad idea, if only because it would have invited a firestorm of speculation as to what his REAL motivation was, which is exactly what happened.

    By supplying a laughably bad reason then proceeding to contradict it, Trump lit the fuse which now threatens to blow up his whole presidency. If he was going to fire Comey he needed grounds far more plausible than the one Rosenstein was induced to write.

    Which in turn illustrates, yet again, that Trump does not think through the consequences of his actions or the rationale for those actions, He is like a gunslinger who shoots from the hip. That is shown by his own letter on the firing, his Holt interview, not to mention his tweets on the matter.

    Trump is how own worst enemy.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree Ken. It seems everyone wanted Comey fired, and when he was the Democrats want to make an issue of it.

    Consider Comey's Clinton connection (google "breitbart.com comey brother clinton" - I'd post the link but can't here). He's essentially been paid off by the Clintons.

    Comey is a big part of the swamp. From what I see, it was Obama/Lynch/Comey obstructing justice regarding Clinton's emails. And I'd bet the Russians did hack her sever and used it to blackmail Obama (he sent Hillary emails suspiciously using an alias, and then lied he learned of her server in news reports). It explains everything, and the RINOs controlling the GOP don't like Trump either so probably won't go after Clinton.

    Frankly, I think Reason has been too critical of Trump. After all Trump has deregulated quite a bit (via executive orders since Congress isn't helping), he's appointed Mulvaney to the OMB (a libertarian type of guy), appointed good freedom loving (and Cato approved) judges, and more or less acted within the limits of the Constitution. Not that I agree with all of Trump's often short sighted actions (e.g. foreign policy, attacking the Freedom Caucus to get Obamacare lite approved, striking TPP, etc.).

  • Bill||

    Let's cut to the chase. Sessions is a yahoo and wants to go
    after legal and decriminalized pot. He needs to go. So I can
    smoke pot. (legally)

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's not a good enough reason to fire him, apparently--Trump would have to admit that Sessions was fired for recusing himself . . . either that or Trump would have to admit he fired Sessions for whatever is the most awful interpretation possible. If he didn't, then he'd be a liar.

    P.S. If Trump ever fires Sessions, he should say it's because of Sessions' "jokes" about the Klan--just to drive the press crazy.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It's good enough for me. I'd prefer Sessions dead, but fired is satisfactory.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree with Ken. Sessions hasn't gone after pot, at least not yet. And you can smoke pot legally in some states. And frankly, he has his hands full of dealing with a bunch of Obama appointees and leakers trying to take him and Trump down.

    Consider the alternative you might get with Sessions gone. Pence is more anti-pot than Trump, and doesn't support medical marijuana unlike Trump. Or consider the Democrat Clinton - she's against it.

    Count your blessings, and don't make it worse.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sessions' unapologetic participation in concealing Trump's motive is just as obviously relevant to the attorney general's claim that he is a man of honesty and integrity.

    How the fucking fuck do you know what Trump's motives are? Because he said so? The retarded baboon lies constantly, continuously, compulsively and comprehensively. There was no decision on Trump's part to fire Comey before he asked for advice, the fucker's just incapable of giving credit to anybody else for any kind of decision-making. It wouldn't matter if Sessions held Trump down while Rosenstein held a gun to his head to make him issue the firing statement, Trump still would have trotted out there with that smirk on his face and claimed he did it all by himself because he's a big boy and he hardly ever goes poopy in his pull-ups anymore.

  • Jerryskids||

    Think about it - if Trump were to claim he wasn't sure abut firing Comey and sought the AG's advice, he'd be admitting he either doesn't know everything or he's indecisive or that the AG's office might know more than he does about the law. Does that sound like anything Trump would be willing to hint at? He's God, he's omnipotent and omniscient and nobody has a gooder brain than him. He works alone, he doesn't need anybody giving him advice or recommendations, he does everything all by himself because he's the only one capable of understanding 9th-level wizard chess.

  • BYODB||

    I suspect that this is more true than most would like to admit Jerry.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And/or Trump has had a great deal of success with being all over the place on statements, so nobody can pin him down.

    Trump is literally got the media bouncing from TDS issue to TDS issue.

  • BYODB||

    There's another reason for that, and you can see it looking at the coverage of Obama. They're so used to only covering what the President says, that they've completely lost the capacity to report on what the President actually does.

    With Trump, that's a recipe for driving reporters insane since it means they actually need to do work instead of just rewording White House P.R. pieces.

  • KWlib||

    So Barney Fife's evil twin is a lying scumbag. Are people really surprised at this?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Verrrry interesting .....

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    It seems to me that Trump fired Comey because the FBI director would not do the one thing he was repeatedly asked to do. Trump wanted Comey to make public that he wasn't under investigation. That's why Trump kept coming at him, not Flynn, not to end the Russian probe, it was Trump looking after Trump. Image is all he's got.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That and Trump knew that a statement like that from an Obama appointee would seem more believable.

    Comey was very political and with everything that Comey did and how bad the media was lying in its Russia-gate stories, Comey probably should have said that Trump is not under investigation.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree. Comey chose to not say Trump wasn't under investigation (and really there is no evidence of it - it's something Clinton made up to discredit Trump and aka. bearing false witness - it's easy to do and the Clintons have done it repeatedly - ask Monica, Wiley, and others). Why? Because he's playing politics and wanted to keep his power and his job. Imagine he said Trump wasn't under investigation; you know the Democrats would want his head (as they did when he spoke out about Clinton).

    Comey was a loyal Obama minion: he did what was necessary to keep his job, rather than doing his job and following his oath to the Constitution. I'd bet Trump intentionally asked Comey for his loyalty, looking for Comey could to say "I'm loyal to the Constitution and assuming you are then we won't have any issues" or something else. Comey replied with something else which is good reason to fire him.

  • Ron||

    there can be many reasons to fire someone and you don't have to tell the person your about to fire any of them. the initial stated reason is one and the latter stated reason can be another, one does not discount the other both can be valid and has been pointed out on Reason articles Comey had lots of reasons to be fired.

  • BYODB||

    It seems to be that you might want to look into the exchange between Tom Cotton and Sessions, since it boiled the whole farce down to it's essential oil where there is no crime to investigate. This whole idiocy is a political snake slithering around looking for something, anything, to bite.


    The conclusion is impeachment, the Democrats are just trying to figure out what steps one and two are.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Even more so, the Democrats are not in power to get the votes for impeachment.

    The left is just out of ideas to stop Trump.

    Some people have said that the Democratic Party is just imploding and by the time they lose Congressional seats in 2018, the Democratic Party will just be fewer and fewer people.

  • BYODB||

    I don't really know what the Democrats hope to accomplish anymore. It's possible that they don't really know either, but they're just on an anti-trump autopilot. It strikes me as more of an obstructionist temper tantrum on their part, but to use the justice department as the vehicle for that tantrum seems extra-crazy, even for the left.

    It seems to me that the Democrat party really doesn't know what direction it's going in anymore. Sure, they've been sliding more and more to the far left for years now but they appear to be near the breaking point where they're losing chunks of their historic base because of it.

    It appears their strategy really is simply ride Trump as hard as they can on every single issue, real or imagined, in an attempt to get those disapproval numbers up and perhaps win the Presidency next time around. Frankly, it will probably work and I wouldn't be shocked if Hillary is once again their chosen one. It's really anyone's guess though, they've become seriously unhinged.

  • MoreFreedom||

    You hit the nail on the head BYODB. And it's not just the Democrats, as there are a lot of RINOs (that control the GOP ranks) who feel the same way.

  • JuanQPublic||

    And of course, democrats will fixate on Trump/Russia/Sessions/Comey instead of addressing Sessions's contempt for civil liberties and the Constitution.

  • Carl_b||

    Sessions sounded like he was drunk when testifying.

  • BYODB||

    It's because he has a very particular accent that makes him sound slow and stupid. It's not his fault, and I'm from the South myself, but if you've never heard that particular brand of southern accent (that, by the way, I understand is dying out) than it's bizarre to hear it, especially side-by-side with people who probably practice their non-regional diction.

  • Carl_b||

    I think its only half the accent, the other half is him stumbling over himself trying to figure out how get away without saying anything when "I don't recall" wouldn't fit.

  • Amogin||

    Let's see the minority president says he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, an investigation from which the AG recused himself. Now Mr. Sessions says he still gets to manage the department but, by his own admission, not when the Russian investigation was involved. He was either lying when he recused himself or lying when he offered an opinion he should not have offered. His deputy was untainted by the Russian scandal and he could easily have allowed one memo to be written to justify the firing but he didn't. H e jumped in to help his good friend the liar in chief and now wants Conress to trust his integrity, which he deliberately squandered in serving the braggart in chief.

  • The Divine Reactionoid||

    Or he just thought Comey was an idiot and gave/wrote that opinion when asked.

    Of course an obvious explanation leaves a lot less room for Democrat fan fiction.

  • MoreFreedom||

    "He [Sessions] was either lying when he recused himself or lying when he offered an opinion he should not have offered."

    I don't follow Amogin. Sessions recused himself because he was involved in Trump's campaign; thus it would appear to be a conflict of interest to investigate those with whom he was involved (assuming anyone was colluding with Russians of which there's no evidence). As far as "offering an opinion he should not have offered", there were and are plenty of reasons Comey should have been fired. Sessions essentially endorsed Rosenstein's memo when he recused himself, because he's put it in other people's (Rosenstein specifically) hands.

    While I really like Sullum, I don't agree with his logic here, or his assertions of an attempt "to cover up the real reasons" for firing Comey. IMHO, the real reason to fire Comey, was because he wasn't upholding his oath to the Constitution. I don't think he handled either Clinton's email acts or the Russian collusion investigations correctly, and instead, acted in his own interests first.

  • BradN||

    While Sessions is a horrible AG. This article is asserting that he recused himself of all of his responsibilities as AG not just any investigations involving the Trump campaign. Why? Why can't he decide that Comey was acting like a Buffon trying to hide behind curtains and by usurping thae responsibilities of the DOJ in deciding whether charges should be brought against Hillary. On the grounds that she did not "intent" to commit a crime which has since been contradicted by emails where she writes that "against the advise of...". no less. Look you don't like Sessions I don't either but that is a separate issue from what this article claims to be about.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree BradN. Critics will argue that Sessions can't comment on anything Comey did, because Comey was investigating his boss. But I agree with you that Sessions can comment on Comey's actions that are independent of the Russian collusion investigation.

    Sessions did recuse himself on the Russian investigation, so his subordinate who wasn't involved in the Trump campaign was the one commenting on Comey's handling of it, and Rosenstein found Comey's actions unsatisfactory.

    And I agree, Comey was a buffoon in his actions on the Hillary email investigation (why give many grants of immunity without testimony that helps convicts higher ups per the normal protocol for giving such grants of immunity - and allowing them to destroy evidence as well - as one of many buffoon actions).

    And I don't like Sessions much either. But he's right a fresh start was needed at the FBI. And isn't it ironic, all the Democrats wanted Comey fired until Trump did it?

  • Tamfang||

    "…I have served with honor…"

    What? That's not your call.

  • H-daddy||

    Sessions recused himself because the rules and regulations of the DoJ made it clear that he must. The Comey firing is an entirely different matter. Sessions seemed to make it clear that, having just become Attorney General, he followed the lead of the Rothenstein on the rationale for firing Comey. Sessions isn't the most articulate person but I thought it was clear enough for anyone to understand.

  • TGGeko||

    This article is so full of innuendo, I imagine it was written in a 1970s hospital sitcom.

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