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Jeff Sessions Keeps Violating His Recusal From Investigations of the Trump Campaign, Experts Say

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has recused himself from all Justice Department matters related to the 2016 election and the Clinton and Trump campaigns, yet seems unwilling to follow through on this pledge.


First, he was involved in the infamous firing of former FBI Director James Comey—and cited Comey's treatment of Hillary Clinton during the campaign as the primary reason for his termination. Comey was also overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign. Democracy 21, a watchdog group, filed a complaint with the department.

Just this past weekend, Sessions fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—Comey's former number-two in the department—days before he would have earned full pension benefits. His reason for firing McCabe? It appears to be related to his supposedly misleading statements about the investigation of the Clinton Foundation. McCabe was also deeply involved in the investigations into the Trump campaign and Clinton's private email server.

Ryan Goodman pointed out the violation on Lawfare, writing, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe appears to directly violate the promise he made, under oath, to recuse himself from such matters."

Goodman continued: "Some might contend that Sessions’ recusal covered only the Clinton and Trump campaigns, and that McCabe’s firing involved the Clinton Foundation investigation as a separate matter. But Sessions unequivocally assured senators of his intentions during his confirmation hearings in response to a clear and specific question from the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)."

During the hearings, Sessions specifically said that he would recuse from "any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve Secretary Clinton and that were raised during the campaign or to be otherwise connected to it."

It's very difficult to see how Sessions can justify being involved in the termination of either McCabe or Comey. 

Since Sessions had the simple option of just passing the decision to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he has no plausible excuse for violating the recusal—unless the president forced him to do it.

Not only would that be grossly unethical, it would help build the case of obstruction of justice against the president.

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