AG Jeff Sessions Must Recuse Himself From All Russia Investigations
Last night the Washington Post published a detailed story outlining two separate occasions in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions communicated with Russian officials while serving as a surrogate on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. During his confirmation hearings in the Senate, Sessions denied having any communications with Russia.
In their story, the Washington Post reported:
Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general.
One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.
“If there was any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this (2016) campaign, what would you do?” Senator Franken asked, referring to a breaking CNN story about potential communications between Trump surrogates and Russian officials.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians,” Sessions responded. He added, “And I’m unable to comment on it.”
Additionally, in written questions presented by Senator Patrick Leahy, Sessions was explicitly asked, “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?”
Sessions responded simply with a “No.”
Amending his under oath statements after the Washington Post report broke last night, Attorney General Sessions told press today, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about.”
That hasn’t been enough for most lawmakers including at least two high profile Republicans.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman became the first Republicans to speak out commenting, “Jeff Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz also called for Sessions to recuse himself commenting on Twitter, “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”
Thus far Senator Rand Paul has been quiet about the Sessions scandal choosing instead to focus on the Obamacare repeal and replace conversation. So too has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Noting the deafening silence of high profile Republicans, the Washington Post noted today:
Before this report, most congressional Republicans were resistant to the idea of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the contacts between Russia and Trump campaign officials and surrogates — insisting that the ongoing FBI investigation and congressional committees looking into the issue were more than enough.
That’s going to become an untenable position for Republicans — starting with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — in light of this new information about Sessions. Not only is there a very serious question about whether Sessions misled — purposely or accidentally — his colleagues while under oath, but this is also the latest incident involving unanswered questions about the ties among Trump, his top advisers and Russia.
Where are McConnell and Paul? Why haven’t they released statements on this scandal? If you want Senators McConnell and Paul to speak out against AG Sessions, please contact their offices.
Senator Rand Paul
WASHINGTON D.C. (202) 224-4343
BOWLING GREEN (270) 782-8303
OWENSBORO (270) 689-9085
HOPKINSVILLE (270) 885-1212
LEXINGTON (859) 219-2239
LOUISVILLE (502) 582-5341
CRESCENT SPRINGS (859) 426-0165
HAZARD (606) 435-2390
Senator Mitch McConnell
PADUCAH (270) 442-4554
LOUISVILLE (502) 582-6304
LONDON (606) 864-2026
BOWLING GREEN (270) 781-1673
FORT WRIGHT (859) 578-0188
LEXINGTON (859) 224-8286
Attorney General Sessions needs to recuse himself immediately from all Russia investigations and should potentially be a part of those investigations based on national reporting.