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Sessions defends firing Comey, warns DOJ report could prompt more terminations

The Hill logo The Hill 6/14/2018 The Hill Staff
Jeff Sessions wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

On the eve of the release of a potentially explosive new report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the termination of the FBI's top two former executives and warned that the forthcoming report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton probe could result in more people being fired.

In an exclusive interview with The Hill's new TV show "Rising," set to air Thursday morning, Sessions defended the decision to fire ex-Director James Comey, who he said "made a big mistake" that belied a "serious breach of discipline."

Sessions also made clear that he is open to firing more employees if the Justice Department inspector general's soon-to-be-released report warrants it.

"I think it will be a lengthy report and a careful report," he told "Rising" co-host Buck Sexton. "I think it will help us better fix any problems that we have and reassure the American people that some of the concerns that have been raised are not true."

"If anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination we will do so," he added.

Sessions spoke to Rising just hours before DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to release a report on Comey's handling of the Clinton email case in 2016 and his subsequent firing by President Trump in 2017.

Published reports have said the report concludes Comey was insubordinate as FBI director when he refused DOJ advice and announced a re-opening of the Clinton email case just days before the 2016 general election.

Sessions said he is certain that Comey's firing was justified.

"It was the right thing to do. The facts were pretty clear on it. He made a big mistake and he testified only a few weeks before that termination that he would do it again [announce reopening the Clinton probe] if he had the opportunity. So we felt like there was a serious breach of discipline within the department if we allowed him to continue."

Trump has indicated various motives for firing the former FBI director. The termination was recommended in a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that referenced Comey's "handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails."

Sessions also said the termination earlier this year of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for allegedly lying to investigators about his media contacts was also "the right decision." McCabe's termination resulted from a separate report from Horowitz charging Comey's former deputy with unauthorized leaking.

You can watch Session's full interview Thursday at 8 a.m. at http://hill.tv/rising.

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