Justice Dept: Sessions spoke with Russian ambassador in 2016
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 03, 2017,
Mar 03, 2017, 13:50
Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia's top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior USA government officials.
Sessions defended his answer as "honest and correct", suggesting he was referring only to discussions about the campaign.
Sessions also said he has never discussed "any political campaigns" with Russian officials.
"Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities", said Sessions.
Sessions held the press conference as his former Capitol Hill colleagues battled fiercely over the significance of the Russian Federation revelations.
Fox News reported that Sessions' schedules showed those two meetings and others with almost 30 ambassadors from various nations between April 14 and November 11. Other Democrats said he should at least recuse himself from a federal investigation on Russian Federation.
For Mr Sessions to be charged with perjury, prosecutors would have to show that he not only made false statements, but knowingly and wilfully misled members of the committee about an indisputable fact. The new revelation Wednesday raised questions about whether he misled senators who inquired about the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.
Department of Justice officials told The Washington Post that Sessions had two contacts with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016, including a meeting in Sessions' office in September and a previous conversation in July.
Reports emerged last month that top aides and allies of Trump's White House run were in recurring contact with senior Russian intelligence officials. "(Attorney) General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony". Democrats went further and called for his resignation and the appointment of a special prosecutor. If Sessions indeed lied under oath at his confirmation hearing, he could be convicted.
"There is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission" to investigate potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Cummings said.
The inconsistency between Sessions' statements at his confirmation hearing and his contacts with Kislyak is enough that some are reportedly calling for a special counsel to take his place for the purposes of leading the DOJ's investigation into Russian connections to the Trump campaign. "It is now clearer than ever that the attorney general can not, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately", Sen.
The Times' reporting added that there was a "suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia" during Russia's espionage operation.
Two days before Trump's inauguration, the State Department sent Sen. Ever. That's because ambassadors call members of the Foreign Relations Committee.