Sessions: ‘Pretty Stunning Thing’: ‘Appears’ Comey Announced Clinton Findings Without Lynch’s Approval

By Susan Jones | June 13, 2017 | 6:18pm EDT
FBI Director James Comey testifies before Congress. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( – When then-FBI director James Comey announced on July 5, 2016 – one week after Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton on an airplane in Arizona -- that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted for her use of a private email server, Comey’s boss, Lynch, did not know what he was going to do.

“But, in fact, it appears he did it without her approval, totally, and that is a pretty stunning thing,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.

“It is a stunning thing,” Sessions repeated. “It violates fundamental power, and then when he reaffirmed that – the rightness he believed of his decision on May 3 (before Congress)…that was additional confirmation that the director’s thinking was not clear.”

Comey, at the July 5 news conference concerning Clinton’s email practice, said: "Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."

Sen. Sessions testified on Tuesday that it is “correct” to say that the Russian investigation did not factor into the recommendation to fire Director Comey.

Sessions indicated that Comey was fired because he was a rogue elephant, going around his boss to make decisions on prosecution.  

“I believe we’re going to have a new and excellent FBI director, a person who is smart, disciplined with integrity and proven judgment that will be good for the Bureau,” Sessions said.

Sessions’ letter recommending the firing of Comey did not mention Russia at all.

Sessions, in his letter, said he had concluded that a “fresh start” was needed at the FBI:

“The director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the department,” Sessions wrote.

Sessions told Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday that Comey was fired, partly based on his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation: "That was part of it, and the commenting on the investigation in ways that go beyond the proper policies.

"We need to restore, Senator Collins, I think, the classic discipline in the department. My team, we've discussed this. There's been too much leaking and too much talking publicly about investigations. In the long run, the department’s historic rule that you remain mum about investigations is the better policy."

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