When President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey last week, it sent shock waves across the country, but it isn’t the first time a sitting director has been removed before the end of his term.
U.S. News points out that, while there are similarities between Comey’s firing and Sessions’, both men had to deal with criticism from both sides of the political aisle, and there were reports of dissent within the rank and file of the FBI in both instances — Sessions’ situation had to do less with politics and more with personal finances.
Sessions had been under investigation by the Department of Justice’s Office of Personal Responsibility during President George H.W. Bush’s final year in office, according to the Los Angeles Times. Among the transgressions listed in a Justice Department report was Sessions’ use of an FBI limousine on which he avoided paying taxes.
When Sessions refused to step down, Clinton — upon the advice of his attorney general, Janet Reno — dismissed Sessions, the Times reported.
At the time, 44 percent of Americans approved of Sessions’ removal, while only 24 percent disapproved, according to a Gallup poll. Comey’s firing was greeted with a 46-percent disapproval rating, while just 39 percent approved of it, according to Gallup.
William Sessions is not related to current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, although he is the father of Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. William Sessions is now 86 and is affiliated with the Constitution Project. The group’s website describes the organization as a political think tank that attempts to “foster consensus-based solutions to the most difficult constitutional challenges of our time.”