WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI investigated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for possible false statements to Congress, according to published reports.
ABC News first reported that Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director fired last week by Sessions, authorized an investigation into Sessions last year about whether Sessions misled Congress when he denied having any contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
The Justice Department later acknowledged that Sessions had had two encounters with the then-Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. That led congressional Democrats to seek an FBI investigation into whether Sessions had knowingly made false statements.
Sessions stepped aside in March 2017 from overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, is now in charge of the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed last May and who interviewed Sessions earlier this year.
Chuck Cooper, a lawyer for Sessions, said he has been told that there’s no current investigation into Sessions for false statements.
“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,” Cooper said.
Sessions’ statement came at a January 2017 confirmation hearing in response to a question from then-Sen. Al. Franken, D-Minn. He asked Sessions what he would do if there was evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the campaign.
Sessions replied he was “unaware of those activities.”
Then he added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have, did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
The Justice Department said Sessions’ answer was not misleading because he had not been asked about meetings he had with Russian officials while he was a Republican senator from Alabama. Sessions withdrew from the Russia investigation the day after his contacts with Kislyak were disclosed. Sessions said he could not oversee an investigation into a campaign in which he was involved.
As for McCabe, Session said he dismissed the former FBI official based on a recommendation from bureau disciplinary officials, who concluded that McCabe had not been candid during an investigation by an internal watchdog.