Jeff Sessions Must Now Tell America the Whole Truth


By Faiz Shakir

Before answering questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on 10 January, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions raised his hand and pledged an oath to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

Today it appears Sessions violated that oath before the committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee must open a full investigation into whether the attorney general perjured himself when he said he had no contact with Russian officials during the election.

During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked Sessions what he would do if he learned someone affiliated with the Trump campaign had any interaction with the Russian government during the run-up to the election. The question was a pointed and necessary one after intelligence reports that Russia had allegedly intervened in the presidential election to tip it in favor of his potential boss, President Trump.

Sessions replied, “I’m not aware of any of those activities.” Then he went further, stating, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Soon after, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) followed up with written questions asking whether Sessions had contact with Russian officials about the 2016 election. He wrote back one word to the question, “No.”

But Sessions should have been aware of those activities, because he engaged in them. According to The Washington Post last night, Sessions spoke at least twice with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US who is reportedly a top spy recruiter for Russia, when he was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee as well as an early and trusted adviser to the Trump campaign. One of the encounters was a September meeting between the two men in Sessions’ Senate office.

What did the two talk about? According to one Justice Department official, it’s hard to say. “There’s just not strong recollection of what was said,” the official told the Post.

The position of Sessions’ team at the Justice Department, the White House, and top Republican leadership surrounding these perjury allegations seems to be: Nothing to see here. Sessions has even directly proclaimed his innocence. “I have no idea what this allegation is about,” he said in a statement released last night. “It is false.”

But such disavowals are not good enough by Sessions’ own standards. During the Clinton impeachment proceedings in 1999, the Alabama senator pushed hard for charging President Bill Clinton with perjury and, if convicted, his removal from office. During a C-Span appearance, Sessions rightly sized up the seriousness of the perjury accusation levied at Clinton. “The American people believe no one is above the law and the president has gotten himself into this fix that is very serious,” he said. “I intend to give him an absolutely fair trial.”

What held true then holds true now: The Senate judiciary committee must hold an open public investigation. In 1999, Sen. Sessions himself stated the case for action: “The Senate has demonstrated three times in the last 13 years that perjury by civil officers of the United States requires removal.”

Jeff Sessions should take his own advice and welcome a full and fair investigation into whether he lied during his confirmation hearing. The attorney general deserves to be presumed innocent, but the American people also deserve a full investigation into whether he committed a federal crime by lying under oath as well as the details on what he and Kislyak spoke about during their meetings. Anything less, as Sessions has said before, would weaken our legal system and cast doubt on whether the powerful are held to account for their crimes.

As Sessions knows all too well: No one is above the law — certainly not those sworn to uphold it.


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18 thoughts on “Jeff Sessions Must Now Tell America the Whole Truth”

  1. Keith O

    Nothing but a fake uproar from Democrats for political gain to try and placate their base.

    Claire McCaskill asked for Session’s resignation.  But look what has surfaced:

    But the Missouri lawmaker went too far when she said she’d had no similar contacts in the decade that she’d been, like Sessions, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    McCASKILL: In a statement, said, “I’ve been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for 10 years, and in that time, have had no call from, or meeting with, the Russian ambassador. Ever. That’s because ambassadors call members of the Foreign Relations Committee. Attorney General Sessions should resign.”

    THE FACTS: In her own Twitter feed, McCaskill records two such contacts in recent years. The first, on Jan. 30, 2013, says: “Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador. Upset about the arbitrary/cruel decision to end all US adoptions, even those in process.” Then on Aug. 6, 2015, she tweeted, “Today calls with British, Russian and German Ambassadors re: Iran deal. #doingmyhomework”–politics.html

      1. Keith O

        Have you watched to entire Sessions/Franken exchange?  Franken was actually smiling in a wink-wink sort of way when he asked Sessions about the fake report that had come out that day about Trump ties to Russia and Trump urinating on Russian hookers.  I think Sessions was thinking in the capacity of being a Trump surrogate and not in his job as a member the the Senate Arms Committee when he answered.  Yes it was sloppy on Session’s part but this is all about politics and not about any wrongdoing that Sessions might have done.  At least he’s recused himself unlike DOJ Lynch who never recused herself even after getting caught having a secret meeting with Hillary’s husband while she was under Federal investigation.

        1. Howard P

          … having a secret meeting…

          Yeah a secret meeting televised (that there was a meeting) on pretty much all major news outlets… it is true that the cameras were not rolling during the meeting.

          There is a kernel of truth in your apparent concern… yet, there may be limits to ‘transparency’… what if Bill (as a private citizen) was fishing for a ‘date’ [ in that case, am pretty sure Hillary would want it ‘transparent’]?  Can see where he’d want to keep it ‘low key’ just as the AG would.  Did it affect the investigation?  If that was the intent (investigation, at least), wouldn’t it been considerably more ‘private’?  ‘Facts’ are not in evidence, at this point.

        2. Keith O

          Yeah a secret meeting televised (that there was a meeting) on pretty much all major news outlets… it is true that the cameras were not rolling during the meeting.

          Tell us what was said during that meeting.  What?  Nobody knows?  That’s right, they talked about their grandkids and golf.  If you believe that …….

        3. Howard P

          And Keith, you have no facts, only (probably biased) speculation… if you equally condemned the Clintons, and members of the Trump administration, that’s fair… to equally justify both, that’s “stupid” as far as what the standards should be… to justify one, and criticize the other is pretty much getting to either hypocrisy, or the “I’m justified for hitting someone, because he hit me first”… childish.

  2. Keith O

    Just out:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she’s never met with the current Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
    “Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” Pelosi told POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer during a Playbook interview, when asked if she’d ever met with the Russian envoy.
    But a file photo from Pelosi’s 2010 meeting with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev shows Kislyak at the table across from Pelosi — then House speaker.

    1. Howard P

      Untruths by ‘omission’, regardless of affiliation, are not good for the country… yeah, there are more than one culprits out there, and span both parties, for sure… game playing (including ‘spin’) seems to be more rampant these days…

    2. Don Shor

      Great, I’m sure this will be important if she is ever under oath and being considered for attorney general. So the Keith O Daily Hypocrisy Meter is still out of adjustment.
      Do you see the difference between what Pelosi and McCaskill said, and Sessions’ sworn testimony?

      1. Keith O

        Don Shor, I believe you’re very biased too when it comes hypocrisy.  Do you deny that?  I feel you need your meter looked at and recalibrated.

        1. Don Shor

          I suspect you won’t find comments from me on the Vanguard about the hypocrisy of political figures. You’re the one that does that. Almost every day. Perhaps you can find an instance where I’ve given examples of politicians being hypocrites. But it isn’t my daily shtick.
          I wonder why you comment about Pelosi and McCaskill when the issue is the sworn testimony of someone nominated as Attorney General. Do you really not see the difference? You do this all the time. It’s like you’re just flinging stuff about Democratic politicians to deflect from the issues with Trump and his appointees. It’s almost as though you think the Pelosi comment is equivalent to what Sessions did. That’s hard to imagine that you would really think that.

  3. Tia Will

    The issue for me is not in the meeting, but in the denial that any meeting occurred. I also would not be concerned if the meeting had been between, for example Dr. Price, or Dr. Carson, as I would not expect either of them to have a lawyerly or scholarly knowledge of appropriate meetings and or discussions at those meetings. But that is not the case here. Here we have the Attorney General claiming that he misunderstood a question and does not recall the specifics of the meeting that he denied having had. Clearly for a man at the lead of our legal system, a comprehensive knowledge of the legal questions involved in such a meeting would have been clear. If there were no inappropriate communications, surely he would have been able to account for the content of the conversations knowing that this was an issue that might arise.

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