Dems Call for AG Jeff Sessions' Resignation Over Meetings With Russian Ambassador
Wednesday night, The Washington Post reported — and the Justice Department later confirmed — that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, while serving as senator in 2016. This seemed to contradict Sessions' statements during his confirmation hearings that he had not had communications with the Russians. Democrats wasted little time in calling for his head.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Sessions of "lying under oath" and declared that the attorney general is now "not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign."
Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also called for Sessions to resign immediately, citing the firing of former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Cummings argued that Sessions' testimony was "demonstrably false — yet he let it stand for weeks."
"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 declared.
Even some Republicans expressed concern over the issue. Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz declared, "AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself."
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy argued that Sessions "needs to clarify what these meetings were." On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday morning, McCarthy said it wasn't unusual for members of Congress to meet with ambassadors, but he added that if a question arose about the integrity of a federal investigation, "I think it'd be easier" for the attorney general to step away from this particular probe.
So why the outrage? During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions testified, "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in [Trump's] campaign and I didn't have — did not have communications with the Russians."
After news of the meetings with Kislyak, Sessions clarified his position in a statement, saying, "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."
According to the Associated Press (AP), "Sessions had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors last year in his role as a U.S. senator and senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and had two separate interactions with Kislyak." What were those interactions?
One was a visit in September in his capacity as a senator, similar to meetings with envoys from Britain, China, Germany and other nations, the department said.
The other occurred in a group setting following a Heritage Foundation speech that Sessions gave during the summer, when several ambassadors — including the Russian ambassador — approaches Sessions after the talk as he was leaving the stage.
How dare Sen. Sessions attend Heritage Foundation events! How dare he meet with ambassadors while serving as a United States senator! Oh wait, that's what senators do...
"When I worked for [Texas Senator] John Cornyn, ambassadors visited and called constantly," Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, recalled. At the time, Cornyn was a junior senator.
"To pretend that a phone call in his office and a brief run-in at the RNC is scary coordination with the Kremlin is straight up insane," Domenech added. "You have to pretend you have absolutely no idea how the Senate works and campaigns work to think this is anything."
In a wonderful moment, Domenech then adopted the breathless reporting of Democrats on this issue: "The Russian ambassador leaned in, and Jeff Sessions whispered: 'The chair is against the wall.'"
Charles C.W. Cooke, editor of National Review Online, called out Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. In the aftermath of the Sessions news, the Democrat senator tweeted that she had "no call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever." But her own Twitter feed reveals otherwise.
In 2013, McCaskill tweeted, "Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador." In 2015, she declared, "Today calls with British, Russian, and German Ambassadors re: Iran deal. #doingmyhomework."
When did "doing my homework" turn into "scary coordination with the Kremlin"? Oh yes, when applied to Jeff Sessions. Indeed, it could be said that Democrats were calling for his resignation before he was even confirmed.
Democrats called Sessions racist, and liberal protesters even dressed up like the Klu Klux Klan to attend his hearing, despite the fact that African-American religious leaders endorsed him, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow once praised him, and an African-American hill staffer testified that in 20 years, Senator Sessions hadn't said "anything offensive or racist."
Indeed, while breaking Senate tradition and testifying against Sessions, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker disagreed with Martin Luther King, Jr., declaring that "the arc of the moral universe does not just naturally curve towards justice, we must bend it." If so, this would invalidate the purpose of King's original quote, where the civil rights leader declared that he was confident his movement would defeat segregation because "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Yes, Democrats are driven so angry by Jeff Sessions that they will openly disagree with Martin Luther King, Jr., and call a senator racist in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
For more information on what Sessions said about Russia and when, check out this timeline by The Washington Post's Philip Bump.
When it comes to the meetings with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Sessions' declaration that he had not communicated with the Russians in regards to Trump's campaign, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said that "there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer."
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the disclosure of talks with Kislyak "the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats." She further explained that 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."
Sessions was confirmed on February 8. Democrats called for his resignation on March 1. Can the opposition party not wait longer than a month to call for scalps from the Trump administration? I suppose Americans already know the answer...