Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States twice before the election while he was a senator and also a surrogate for President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The Washington Post first broke the news and a spokeswoman for Sessions, Sarah Isgur Flores, acknowledged that Sessions did meet with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The attorney general did not disclose his contact with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing in January.
Talking to Russia is not a crime, but lying to Congress under oath is. The lede is a bit muddled there, but that’s the nugget to keep within easy reach when your Facebook Rage Uncle tells you that there is nothing there.
Shorter Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III: Nyet, y’all. Here’s the longer version:
“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” he said in a statement. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
And then Session’s spokes-weasel came in to parse some words from the original into weasel-speak:
Flores told the Washington Post that Sessions’ answer was not “misleading.”
“He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” Flores said.
That’s weasel-speak, and it seems to be another lie:
Related: Washington Post spoke to 19 other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and none had spoken with the Russian ambassador https://t.co/v1JRbmhubA
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 2, 2017
Not surprisingly, high ranking Dims are demanding his resignation (Pelosi and Cummings):
“Now, after lying under oath to Congress about his own communications with the Russians, the Attorney General must resign. Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign. There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.” Pelosi said in the statement.
“It is inconceivable that even after Michael Flynn was fired for concealing his conversations with the Russians that Attorney General Sessions would keep his own conversations secret for several more weeks. When Senator Sessions testified under oath that ‘I did not have communications with the Russians,’ his statement was demonstrably false, yet he let it stand for weeks — and he continued to let it stand even as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians. Attorney General Sessions should resign immediately, and there is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission to investigate this issue,” Cummings said in a statement.
And we need Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who should have never been confirmed in the first place – to resign. We need it now.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 2, 2017
And I think that’s our current state of play.