WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice is investigating allegations that FBI Director William S. Sessions permitted his wife and his special assistant to misuse power, sources familiar with the inquiry said last night.
ABC News also reported yesterday that the probe involved possible ethics violations involving government-paid travel.
Quoting sources familiar with the inquiry, the network said investigators are checking "Sessions' travel records and those of his wife, Alice, to see whether government autos, airplanes and personnel have been used for private purposes."
The misuse of power allegations range from his assistant, Sarah Munford, allegedly using her FBI credentials to try to persuade a Texas trooper not to ticket her son to Mrs. Sessions obtaining a special building pass that normally requires top secret security clearance and is reserved for assistant FBI directors.
Mr. Sessions confirmed in a telephone interview with Reuters last night that an inquiry had begun.
"I can confirm that there is an inquiry, but beyond that I cannot comment," he said.
Spokesmen for the FBI and for the attorney general declined to comment.
Ron Kessler, author of a book on the FBI, said yesterday that the allegations were detailed in an eight-page letter he wrote to the FBI on June 24 when he was seeking to interview Mr. Sessions on the charges.
Mr. Kessler said that none of the misconduct allegations involves Mr. Sessions. "He's so careful that he retains paper clips on FBI documents sent to him and returns them to the bureau," Mr. Kessler said.