President Donald Trump acted with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s advice when he dismissed FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, but Sessions aired his misgivings about Comey’s handling of the Bureau months before he took his post at DOJ.
“This is scary to me,” Sessions told Boston syndicated radio host Howie Carr back in October, outraged at the handling of the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal then plastered on front pages around the world.
Sessions specifically raised concerns over the immunity granted to Clinton Cheif-of-Staff Cheryl Mills and the related non-prosecution of the deletion of thousands of subpoenaed emails.
“I don’t see how it is possible for someone so involved in a case that they refuse to provide testimony and information without a grant of immunity,” Sessions told Carr at the time.“I really don’t see how Congress can issue a subpoena for records and they then destroy those records.”
Sessions said he “tried not to be critical of Comey at first” but the ongoing handling of the Clinton investigation, culminating in the decision not to prosecute anyone last July, convinced him that Comey’s directions of the investigation had been “unhealthy” and “breathtaking.”
Just weeks after Sessions’s appearence on the Howie Carr Show, Comey would throw the conclusions of the initial investigation into doubt when he announced the FBI had re-opened its probe in light of additional revelations coming from the separate investigation of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY). The announcement would throw the final days of the 2016 presidential race into chaos and make Comey the subject of intense Democratic ire. Hillary Clinton has blamed her shocking election loss on Comey’s announcement as recently as last week.
The decision, and Comey’s overall handling of the email investigation, has been thrown back into the spotlight with his testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Commitee.
Sessions nevertheless did not raise further public objection when the decision was made in January to keep Comey on as head of the Bureau through the transition to the Trump administration.
Tuesday that decision was, in effect, reversed when Trump sent a letter to Comey dissmissing him, effective immediately. The dismissal was based, according to the accompanying White House press release, “on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”