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Following Comey testimony, DOJ releases statement defending Jeff Sessions

In a statement released Thursday evening, the Department of Justice refuted part of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia.

Spokesman Ian Prior said that shortly after he was sworn in, Sessions "began consulting with career Department of Justice ethics officials to determine whether he should recuse himself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States." The discussions were centered around a part of the Code of Federal Regulations, which says a Department of Justice attorney "should not participate in investigations that may involve entities or individuals with whom the attorney has a political or personal relationship," Prior said.

Because of Sessions' participation in President Trump's campaign "and that reason alone," Sessions announced on March 2 he was recusing himself. During his testimony, Comey said he was unaware of any memo sent to the FBI from the Justice Department or Attorney General about the recusal, but Prior claims Sessions' chief of staff sent Comey an email about the recusal and its parameters and asked that he not brief Sessions on anything having to do with the investigation.