Sessions says he’s ‘aggressively’ going after leakers
Embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he doesn’t regret recusing himself from the Russia investigation and has since championed one of President Trump’s pet projects: identifying leakers.
After Trump announced last year that the “real story” is not Russia but “illegal leaks,” Sessions has launched 27 investigations — up from three prior to him taking office, the attorney general told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“We’re going after this aggressively,” said Sessions, who has managed to hold onto his job despite Trump’s disgust with his Russia recusal that made way for special counsel Robert Mueller. “I am directing it personally.”
When disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was fired after lying about his contact with Russians, Trump and his allies in Congress called for action on the “real” crime – the leaks to the press that exposed Flynn’s conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn pleaded guilty Dec. 1 in the Russia probe for lying to the FBI and is cooperating in Mueller’s investigation.
“The big felony in all of this that nobody talks about from the very beginning was the leak of highly classified information when they leaked the phone call of the Russian ambassador talking to Gen. Mike Flynn right before the inauguration,” Sessions said, explaining his ongoing leak investigation. “That was a felony, nothing’s ever been done about it.”
As Mueller’s Russia investigation has encircled the White House, Trump and the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee declassified a controversial memo that aimed to cast doubt on the FBI launch of the probe.
The memo alleges the FBI relied on an anti-Trump dossier paid for by Democrats to obtain federal court surveillance of former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.
Sessions said the Page warrant request “will be investigated and looked at.”
He declined to offer more details about his ongoing probes.
Despite all the grief he’s gotten for his March recusal, Sessions stood firm on his decision.
“I believe I did the right thing, the only thing I could do,” Sessions said. “I participated in this [Trump ] campaign and as such under explicit regulations of the Department of Justice; no one can participate in the investigation of a campaign in which they were an active participant.”
He added: “You can’t ask other members of the department to follow the law and follow the rules if the attorney general themselves refuses to do so.”
Sessions’ recusal put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge of the FBI investigation in Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, appointed the special counsel in May under pressure to ensure independence.
Mueller, a Republican and former FBI director, was widely praised at the time by GOP lawmakers as being a fair and honest choice.