The news cycle is pretty crazy these days, and it’s easy to become inured to the madness, but holy crap is this a bombshell. Per ABC News:
Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.
The seriousness of this inquiry into Sessions’ confusing (at best) testimony is still unclear.
According to the sources, McCabe authorized the criminal inquiry after a top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter in March 2017 to the FBI urging agents to investigate “all contacts” Sessions may have had with Russians, and “whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.”
It’s unclear how actively federal authorities pursued the matter in the months before Sessions’ interview with Mueller’s investigators. It’s also unclear whether the special counsel may still be pursuing other matters related to Sessions and statements he has made to Congress — or others — since his confirmation.
Sessions’ lawyer, Chuck Cooper, released the following statement to ABC in response to the story:
The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress.
This new revelation, combined with the minefield of lies and half-truths that Congress has navigated during Sessions’ various testimonies under oath, should further rattle a White House under siege. There’s no confirmation of this, but Sessions firing McCabe two days before he was set to retire and receive his pension sure seems like a natural catalyst for this leak. As always in Trumplandia, the boomerang they throw at their intended victims inevitably will come back to hit them in the face.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.