Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday adamantly defended his involvement in James Comey’s firing, saying his recusal from the Russia investigation did not preclude him from overseeing the FBI.
And he also made clear that he won’t stay quiet in the face of allegations against him.
“I recused myself from any investigation into the campaign for president. I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations,” Sessions said, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Several Democratic senators have questioned Sessions’ role in seeking Comey’s ouster as FBI director, considering the attorney general had recused himself from the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
But Sessions testified Tuesday it’s “absurd” to suggest his recusal would render him unable to manage department leadership.
Sessions, under questioning, also pointed to the reasons why he wanted Comey to go.
He said the bureau needed a “fresh start” and criticized Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. He described Comey’s decision to unilaterally announce the results of the FBI probe last summer as a “usurpation” of Justice Department power.
Comey, testifying before the same committee last week, defended his decision to announce the results on his own. Comey in part cited then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton -- the husband of the subject of the investigation -- which Comey said concerned him.