WASHINGTON ― The FBI has classified information showing Attorney General Jeff Sessions was compromised on the bureau’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, former FBI Director James Comey suggested Thursday.
Comey was responding to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) about his prepared testimony for the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the testimony, which was released Wednesday, Comey said President Donald Trump asked him during a Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn had resigned on Feb. 13.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Trump said, according to Comey’s testimony. Comey replied only that Flynn was a “good guy.”
FBI leadership chose not to inform Sessions about Trump’s questionable closed-door statements because they believed Sessions to be compromised on the Russia investigation, Comey reiterated Thursday.
Wyden wanted to know what it was “about the attorney general’s own interactions with the Russians” that led FBI leadership to make that decision.
Comey responded that the agency thought Sessions “was going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic. And so we were convinced ― and in fact I think that we already heard that the career people were recommending that he recuse himself.”
Sessions recused himself on March 2 from the Department of Justice’s investigation into the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, after it was revealed that he failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials when asked during his confirmation hearings.