WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions said former FBI Director James Comey was wrong to leak the memo documenting a February meeting with President Donald Trump.
During that meeting Comey allegedly asked to drop the Bureau’s investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“What is problematic is to talk … about ongoing investigations that are not properly cleared through top levels of the Department of Justice,” Sessions told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a hearing on Tuesday.
Comey last week told the committee that he authorized the leak of a memo documenting the meeting in which Trump made that request so as to highlight the need for the appointment of a special prosecutor.
Several days after The New York Times reported the existence of the memo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – under intense bipartisan political pressure – appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller III as independent counsel in the Trump-Russia probe.
Comey testified last week that during the meeting in which Trump allegedly asked him to drop the Flynn investigation, Sessions had left the room. Comey then said he requested that Sessions never again leave him alone with Trump.
Sessions told the committee that Comey’s concern pertained to the protocol though which the Department of Justice communicated with the White House.
Sessions refused to answer many of the committee’s questions about conversations he is believed to have had with Trump as, in the attorney general’s opinion, doing so would violate executive privilege.
Sessions said only the president has to power to invoke executive privilege but explained that neither he nor Trump had decided to do so.