Speed Reads

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Report: Andrew McCabe authorized perjury investigation into Sessions

While still employed as the FBI's deputy director, Andrew McCabe authorized an investigation into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied while testifying in his congressional confirmation hearing in January 2017, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Sessions' lawyer, Chuck Cooper, told NBC News the investigation ended without criminal charges, and a Justice Department official said Sessions had no idea about the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last week, less than two days before his retirement was set to kick in. At his hearing, Sessions said he never met with any Russians while serving as a campaign surrogate for President Trump; it was later revealed that Sessions did meet multiple times with Russia's ambassador at the time. Sessions went on to defend himself by saying the interactions took place in his capacity as a senator, and they were not important enough to remember.

One person told NBC News that after Sessions' testimony, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) referred a perjury inquiry to the FBI. This is a common occurrence, the person added, but these inquiries rarely end in prosecution because they are very hard to prove.