'Morning Joe' Says Timing of Jeff Sessions Bombshell Was Politically Motivated
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 04, 2017,
Mar 04, 2017, 20:20
But unnamed White House officials cited by the Washington Post say Sessions did not consider his conversations with Kislyak to be relevant to the questions posed to him in his confirmation hearing and that he did not remember the nature of his discussions with the ambassador. Federal investigators have been looking into possible contacts between Trump advisers and Russian Federation, while congressional committees are investigating Russia's role in political hacking during the campaign. "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians". They included Jason Chaffetz and Kevin McCarthy in the House of Representatives and, in the Senate, Rob Portman of OH, who is emerging as a rare exemplar of measured opposition to Mr Trump. In his former life, General Sessions was head of the Senate's Armed Services Committee and routinely met ambassadors as part of the brief.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., referred to Sessions as "my dear friend" in a CNN town hall Wednesday with Sen.
Many Democrats, who are pushing for a broad probe of ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives, called for Sessions to resign.
Consistent with the succession order for the Department of Justice, Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente shall act as and perform the functions of the Attorney General with respect to any matters from which I have recused myself to the extent they exist.
Sessions, a top adviser to Trump during the presidential campaign, received Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in his office in September, the Washington Post reported.
The letter came a day after Sessions, the country's top justice official and a key ally of Republican President Donald Trump, removed himself from any investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.
The Russian embassy has refused to comment on Kislyak's meetings.
But if that were true, why didn't he say so at the time? The first meeting occurred when Kislyak was one of a group of ambassadors to approach Sessions as he was leaving the podium at an event at the Republican National Convention in July. "I've been on the armed service comm for 10 years".
It is easy to imagine Mr Sessions as an unwitting player in whatever hopes the Russians had invested in Mr Trump. Trump, however, has backed his attorney general and accused Democrats of blowing the issue out of proportion for political purposes. Comey reports to Sessions, whose role grants him the power to influence the depth of the investigation and decide on whether criminal charges are ultimately brought against any individuals.
Second, the episode has made Mr Trump's administration look hapless again-less than 24 hours after the president won plaudits for his unexpectedly conciliatory address to Congress. What was Mr Sessions, a veteran of 20 years in the Senate, thinking? Ms Sessions, he said, had chosen "to say that he had not met with the Russians...and, of course, the ambassador from Russia is a Russian".
Still, in the end, the various Jeff Sessionses did the right thing by announcing they were recusing themselves from anything having to do with investigations of possible Trump campaign connections to Russian Federation.