Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Calls For Sessions To Resign Over Lies About Russian Contacts

Senators Nancy Pelosi and Elijah Cummings are now calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to immediately resign after reports surfaced that he lied to Congress over his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which has been leading investigations into Russian meddling in the election and reported links to Trump’s associates during the campaign.  Despite being one of the officials suspected of having improper contacts with Russian officials, Sessions has so far resisted calls to recuse himself or appoint an independent special prosecutor.

Jeff Sessions was one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers during the campaign and played a prominent role supporting Trump on the stump after formally joining the campaign in February 2016.

As part of Sessions confirmation hearings in January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy  asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “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?” Leahy wrote.

Sessions responded with one word: “No.”

The Washington Post is now reporting that answer was a lie. 

Wapo has disclosed that Sessions had two undisclosed contacts-- private conversations that took place between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in July and  September last year, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.

If the report is true, it’s “a good way to go to jail,” said Richard Painter, who served as White House ethics lawyer between 2005 and 2007 and is now law professor for the University of Minnesota.

The White House and most congressional Republicans have so far resisted calls to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s role in the election. But by Wednesday evening, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed to agree with GOP Representative Darrell Issa by conceding that a special prosecutor might be needed in light of the Sessions revelation.

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