Ethics Watchdog Calls for IG Investigation of Sessions for Violating Recusal

American Oversight Demands Release of Comey Firing Records from FBI, DOJ

Washington, DC — Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) release documents related to the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey. American Oversight also called for the DOJ Inspector General to conduct an independent investigation into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated his recusal from matters relating to the 2016 election.

“The recommendation to fire Director Comey over his role in the 2016 campaign is a clear violation of Attorney General Sessions’ recusal, and the Inspector General should immediately open an investigation,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “From Reince Priebus interfering at the FBI in February to the firing of Director Comey this week, the White House has gone out of its way to undermine the Russia investigation at every turn. If the public is going to have confidence in the rule of law, the Justice Department must release all records of how and why Director Comey was fired.”

In a letter to the DOJ Inspector General, American Oversight called for an investigation of Sessions’ recommendation to fire Comey over his actions during the 2016 election campaign. As a Senator, Sessions was a political surrogate for President Trump’s campaign. He had previously announced that he would not be involved with any DOJ actions relating to the election, and his involvement in the firing of Comey appears to violate that recusal.

American Oversight also filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests today, seeking communications between the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and the White House regarding the firing of Comey; communications between DOJ and the FBI about Comey; and any analysis of whether participating in the firing decision would violate the terms of Sessions’ recusal.

American Oversight was already investigating the Trump administration for political interference at the FBI. On April 19, American Oversight sued the FBI to release communications in which White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the Bureau to refute media reports about the Russia investigation.

The watchdog group is also engaged in active litigation to obtain Sessions’ background investigation documents on which he may have failed to disclose his contacts with Russian officials, and to release any records of the alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower.

American Oversight’s letter to the DOJ Inspector General:

 

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