Sessions defends Rosenstein over conflict-of-interest allegations

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took responsibility for allowing his top deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to remain in charge of the Russia probe amid allegations of conflicts of interest, according to a report.

“That decision really fell to me, ultimately, on the Comey matter,” the attorney general told The Hill in its new TV show “Rising,” which debuted Thursday. “And that’s not a disqualifying thing.”

President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017, when Comey was heading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The recommendations we made on the dismissal of Comey resulted from his handling of certain cases that were laid out in his (Rosenstein’s) recommendation to me or his analysis to me and my recommendation to President Trump,” Sessions said.

Congressional Republicans and others argue that Rosenstein has a conflict because special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump’s firing of Comey as possible obstruction of justice.

Trump recently denied dumping the former top G-man because of the Russia probe — despite citing “this Russia thing” playing a role in his decision during a May 11, 2017, interview on NBC.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to take over the Russia probe a few days later — and Trump has been attacking his “Russian witch hunt” with increasing fervor in the past few months.

Sessions opted out of the investigation after it was revealed he lied at his Senate confirmation hearing about twice meeting with a Russian ambassador during the campaign.

Trump has repeatedly expressed regret for making Sessions his AG and accused him of an “unforced betrayal” for recusing himself.

Sessions’ comments come on the day that a long-awaited report from the Justice Department inspector general is being released — and is expected to slam Comey for violating longstanding department guidelines and mishandling the 2016 Hillary Clinton email probe.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe has already prompted reassignments and departures at the highest levels of the FBI, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“If anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination, we will do so,” Sessions said.

https://nypost.com/2018/06/14/sessions-defends-rosenstein-over-conflicts-of-interest-allegations/

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