Republicans now calling on Sessions to recuse himself

The testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Russian contacts is becoming an escalating problem. Some Republicans are now calling on Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations into Russian interference in the US election.

Washington Post: Top Republicans call on Sessions to recuse himself from Russia investigation

Top Republicans said Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from federal investigations of whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election amid revelations that he met with the Russian ambassador to the United States as a senator but failed to say so at his recent confirmation hearing.

For the second time in President Trump’s nascent administration, the truthfulness of one of its top officials is coming under intense scrutiny, prompting Democratic leaders to call for Sessions to resign as attorney general. The swift response among some Republicans signaled increasing concern about the potential political fallout.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted early Thursday that “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”

More government by Twitter.

He later told reporters: “Let’s let him clarify his statement, and I do think he should recuse himself.” Asked whether his committee would investigate the matter, Chaffetz said, “There are things we are looking at.”

Other calls for Sessions to step down came from across the GOP spectrum. Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), held in high regard at the White House, said in a statement that Sessions “is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe.”

Rep. Barbara Comstock, who represents a swing district in Northern Virginia and is a former Justice Department official, said that Sessions should recuse himself from Russia inquiries and that he “needs to clarify any misconceptions from his confirmation hearing on the matter.”

The comments from prominent Republicans follow revelations that Sessions met with the Russian ambassador during election season.

According to Justice Department officials, Sessions, a top Trump supporter, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice in 2016, including a private meeting in September in his office.

Under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions said that he had not met with any Russian officials.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed calls for Sessions’s recusal as politically motivated.

“There’s nothing to recuse himself,” Spicer said in an interview on Fox News Channel. “He was 100 percent straight with the [Judiciary] committee and I think that people who are choosing to play partisan politics with this should be ashamed of themselves.”

But Sessions has compromised himself – perhaps he’s the one who should be ashamed of himself.

If he doesn’t recuse himself he will leave himself open to allegations and implications of personal interests. At the very least sessions will be a distraction from any investigations.

47 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  March 3, 2017

    Sessions should step down. Not because he did anything wrong like lying, but because he does not have a good memory. He simply forgot a couple of quiet, trifling meetings which had nothing significant enough to make them memorable. That happens.

    I mean here, we understand that and accept that even meeting a very large German émigré, travelling to board a helicopter, then flying to his massive mansion for a big shindig can slip the mind. Doesn’t mean you don’t have integrity.

    Hell, I feel for sorry for Jeff, let him stay. 🐖 🐖 🐖 🐖

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 3, 2017

      You are grossly distorting what John Banks actually said. He didn’t remember whose helicopter it was or something like that-this was some time later. and as he owned his own helicopter, any given trip would hardly be as memorable as it would be to the rest of us. It would be like someone else trying to remmeber which car they’d been in.John Banks has immense integrity. At no time did he deny knowing or visiting Dotcom. Dotcom’s spite, combined with McGreedyforattention’s, brought down a good man wrongly. When the truth was found and proved, it was too late, his career and marriage were gone.

      Shame on you for repeating this scurrilous story.

      • duperez

         /  March 3, 2017

        The only thing scurrilous is saying that John Banks has immense integrity. That immediately diminishes those who truly do have integrity.

        One example of characteristic of Banks’ integrity was well-publicised.
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3250543

        I’ve just re-read what you wrote. In case you’re not just joking around I think that saying Banks has immense integrity is the gross distortion.

        https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/john-banks-escaping-justice/

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 4, 2017

          Well, if it was in the paper, it must be true.

          It’s also true that he was acquitted, wakey, wakey. He is one of these people who is so honest that he’s annoying-I have briefly met him, but know people who know him. He’s the sort of person who’d go back to the shop if he realised that he’d been undercharged by 50c and give it back. I think that he’s a man without a great deal of imagination, things are b/w. That’s the impression I have. Not ,y favourite person, but I resepct him.

          If someone has his own helicopter, it’s hardly likely that any given flight would stand out ages afterwards-it would like me trying to remember which taxi driver was driving when I brought the groceries home this day last year.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  March 3, 2017

    Sessions has agreed to recuse himself from the investigation.

    But trump’s experiment with Flynn has already demonstrated that misleading the Senate Confirmation hearings is a sackable offence.

    Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy wrote to Sessions, asking: “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?”

    Sessions’ reply had just a single word – “No”.

    More damaging for Sessions, is that the explanations for his failure to disclose the meetings, which were issued on his behalf, don’t stack up.

    He claims he was so busy meeting ambassadors from all over the world in the course of 2016 – more than 25 exchanges, including with envoys from Britain, Korea, Japan, Poland, India, China, Australia and Germany. And, er, um, Russia.

    Further these meetings were in his capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee – so why would he think of them in the context of his role in the Trump campaign?

    Funny that. The Washington Post did a ring-around of all 26 members of the Armed Services Committee, asking if any of them had felt a need to meet the Russian ambassador in the course of last year – 19 of the committee members replied and not a one of them had felt a need to seek out Kislyak.

    Michael McFaul, the Stanford University professor who served as US ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama thought it was perfectly reasonable for Kislyak to pursue Sessions. But he told The Post: “The weird part is to conceal it. That was at the height of all the discussions of what Russia was doing during the election”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/90006886/jeff-sessions-russia-scandal-a-blow-for-donald-trumps-new-glow

    Sessions talked about perjury, access and special prosecutors on 6 different occasions when it involved the Clintons. Time for Sessions to take a dose of his own medicine and get ready to take a hike.

    And it’s problematic that trump expresses full confidence in Sessions and says he doesn’t need to recuse himself, yet Sessions recognises the hopelessly conflicted position he’s in. trump has no ethical backbone. Sad. So sad.

    • Gezza

       /  March 3, 2017

      He’ll have to go 😡

      Who else have they got ? 😳

      • Some guy is being flown in from Moscow to run the place. Someone Petrov… ex KGB.

        • Gezza

           /  March 3, 2017

          Good idea. Save a lot of time answering questions about contacts with the Russians. 👍

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  March 3, 2017

      looks like 2 downtickers don’t like being reminded that it’s completely inappropriate for America’s top law enforcement official and a key member of the Trump administration to lie under oath during his confirmation hearing.

      trump’s so-called “swamp draining” appears to have made way for a tarry oily mess to take its place

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 3, 2017

        I think this is the important part:

        “A word of caution: Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the blog Lawfare, said on Twitter that there’s probably not enough for a perjury charge. He argued that there is enough ambiguity about whether Sessions, at his hearing, meant he had no communication with Russia as part of his work as a campaign surrogate versus his work as a senator. If he was speaking exclusively about his work on the behalf of the campaign, Sessions could argue that his work as a US senator was a separate matter.”

        From listening to the interview it is pretty clear the questions and answer were referring specifically to a campaign capacity.

        If there was an official meeting there must have been notes taken so it should be relatively straight forward to clear up one way or another?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 3, 2017

        The Justice Department said late Wednesday that one of the discussions between Sessions and Sergey Kislyak was an office visit that occurred in Sessions’ capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The second conversation took place in a group setting with other ambassadors following a Heritage Foundation speech.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  March 3, 2017

          Dancing on the head of a pin does you no favours. The nub of the issue is whether Sessions misled Congress when he denied any contact with Russian officials…not whether the nature of his discussions were innocuous…

          Sessions was twice asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee about contacts with Russian officials during his confirmation hearings in January, and on neither occasion, did he detail any contacts. But The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Sessions, then an Alabama senator, had in fact spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, during the 2016 presidential election.

          A questionnaire from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, asked Sessions whether he had “been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day.” Sessions answered “no.”

          Then, at Sessions’s January 10 hearing before the entire committee, Minnesota Senator Al Franken asked him about his views on Russia’s alleged meddling in the American presidential election, as well as reports that some Trump campaign associates had been in contact with top Russian officials during the campaign. Sessions replied that he was “not aware of any of those activities,” and added, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

          When Senator Sessions testified under oath that ‘I did not have communications with the Russians,’ his statement was demonstrably false, yet he let it stand for weeks—and he continued to let it stand even as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians

          https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/the-questions-about-jeff-sessionss-contacts-with-russia/518379/

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 3, 2017

            It’s not dancing on the head of a pin – the answers could have done with the extra clarity to be given in the letter you mentioned, but:

            Question 1 asked if he had “…been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government ** about the 2016 election ** ” – the answer to this is still no.

            The second question was also specific to the campaign and campaign staff communicating with Russians. Sessions response was clearly with regard to lack of contact with Russians when he was acting as a surrogate within the Trump campaign.

            Legal opinion seems to agree. You may argue semantics but I would say the questions were as specific in their meaning as the answers.

            If he met in an official capacity due to being on the Senate Armed Services Committee there should be sufficient detail about the meeting to clear up whether it was electoral interference or not.

            Remember the whole issue is around whether the contact is part of Russian interference in the election.

            • PDB

               /  March 3, 2017

              Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the Session statement, two short meetings with the Russian ambassador is a far cry from proof of Russia working hand-in-hand with Trump’s campaign that the Democrats seem all worked up about.

      • Gezza

         /  March 3, 2017

        Very important when draining swamps not to replace them with open sewers or a sludge pit full of rubbish. Has Sessions got enuff savvy & brains for The AG job? These seem relevant questions. It’s not looking like it. 😶

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 3, 2017

          I could well imagine that the Russian ambassador being there with a lot of others and the conversation being brief and social could slip someone’s mind. or seem to be not what the question meant, but the other one’s harder to explain away. Why didn’t he just say yes, I was with him & we taked about x & y ? This makes it look as if he had something to hide !

          Recuse seems an odd word to use here.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  March 3, 2017

          Well he did have one helluva lot of baggage going into the senate confirmation hearings, what with those issues around racism and all.

  3. artcroft

     /  March 3, 2017

    Putin won’t let Trump sack Sessions, the Russians have spent to much time and energy getting him into the AG office. So they’ll instruct Sessions to recuse himself and then dig in and defy the media and congress over any resignation.

    • artcroft

       /  March 3, 2017

      I see Sessions has now recused himself. Now to dig in and follow the script.

      • Gezza

         /  March 3, 2017

        Sessions’s biggest problem, apart from getting caught out fibbing, is that he even always looks shifty. 🕶

        • artcroft

           /  March 3, 2017

          He just checking over his shoulder to make sure his Russian handler is ok with what he is saying.

          • Gezza

             /  March 3, 2017

            These appointments. They’re all going swimmingly, aren’t they? 😬

          • Blazer

             /  March 3, 2017

            Sessions should just do a Key…pop on a different “hat”….home free!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 3, 2017

              I suppose that you never change your mind about anything-or are honest enough to admit it.

  4. Nelly Smickers

     /  March 3, 2017

    Another of my *NY* based twitter followers tweets….. 😡

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 3, 2017

      What a grubby mind Michael Weiss must have.

  5. Pete Kane

     /  March 3, 2017

    “Republicans now calling on Sessions to recuse himself.”
    Did so a couple of hours ago.

    • Gezza

       /  March 3, 2017

      Sure it’s not a typo? The Republicans are not exactly the best team to have your back when the shit hits the fan if you were a bit of a dodgy choice to begin with anyway. Maybe they actually called on him to *rescue* himself? 😕

  6. Nelly Smickers

     /  March 3, 2017

    It seems to me the Democrats are looking *sooo desperate* in trying to sink Jeff, and they are moving waay to fast in what is just another effort to deal some sort of blow to DOTUS. This is nothing but politics……*and it’s dirty* ❗

    • artcroft

       /  March 3, 2017

      Sessions will have to be found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy before that crowd are will to let him go.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 3, 2017

        Alternatively the Dems will see a conspiracy every time he sneezes. There is a concerted effort underway to taint the Trump administration without any actual evidence.

        Politician-meets-ambassador used to be called business as usual until the tin hat brigade took over.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  March 3, 2017

          The most effort to taint trumps administration is coming from his own team – Kushner’s now implicated in Russian meetings as well…

        • Gezza

           /  March 3, 2017

          Politician meets ambassador – of friendly or not-so-friendly governments – is always accompanied by a full Diplomatic &/or Intelligence report by the relevant State agencies. These are not simple meet ups or phone chats. Ambassadors are very important representatives & conduits of foreign governments.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  March 3, 2017

            TBH Gezza, I’m a little suspicious of anyone with the name ‘sessions’. It reminds me of my dodgy neighbours… 😀

            • Gezza

               /  March 4, 2017

              Some of the Trumpsters appointments have been ok. Gorsuch for SCOTUS justice seems lkely to be a reasonable choice, although his sycophantic ego massaging of The DOTUS in his thank you speech was somewhat cringeworthy. T-Rex might work out ok too.

              But there’s just something I don’t like about Jeff Sessions. They say you shouldn’t go by appearances but he just looks & sounds like a little shit to me. I’ve been flat out all hours doing overdue 2 years overdue projects & maintence in & around home while we had our ONE week (well, 6 days) of Summer – half of which was in freskin Autumn, so I haven’t had time to watch or read the news, or this forum.

              Trying to catch up with this latest hullabaloo over the next day or two. The LF was here earlier but got a bit stroppy, copped an earful, & left in a huff, so I’ll have some time tomorrow morning posdibly. I probably shouldn’t have done the washing. 🤔

            • Gezza

               /  March 4, 2017

              I probably also should be especially careful with proof-reading, as that last effort above was certainly nothing to write home sbout…. 😕

            • patupaiarehe

               /  March 4, 2017

              Good to know that you’re ‘keeping her in line’. ‘Lady friends’ are much like teenagers, they will push ‘boundaries’, just to see what they can get away with….

            • Gezza

               /  March 4, 2017

              Yes, I’ll probably get a phone call in 7 to 10 days asking if we could both just apologise but I’ll just calmly point out, like always, that I don’t actually have anything to apologise for. And then I’ll accept hers & it’ll be all good until the next time she does it again in a few months time. It’s all good. I know her better than she knows me. Poor lass. It’s hard enuff to argue with me when I’m wrong. She hasn’t a hope in hell when I’m right. Anyway, I’m busy with projects. 👍

            • patupaiarehe

               /  March 4, 2017

              I suspect you’ll get a call tomorrow… 😉

            • Gezza

               /  March 4, 2017

              Possibly … but more likely she’ll give me few days to see why I was in the wrong, and call her. And because I wasn’t, & won’t, she’ll start to process things & conclude that maybe she was. Once we get to that point, I’ll get a text. That’s the usual process.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  March 4, 2017

              LOL, sounds just like my wife & I. At least you two don’t have to live together 😀

  7. Conspiratoor

     /  March 3, 2017

    I watched sessions recusal speech. He had the look of a man completely at ease with himself and his role in this. ‘Bring it on’ he appeared to be saying. Be careful snowflakes, this may not play out like you think. Not quite a king hit pants wetter methinks

    • Gezza

       /  March 3, 2017

      Mustapha shufti. Will see it it’s on EweChewb yet. Something about that man’s eyes, crafty looking devil. 😏

  8. See the whole thread of tweets.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  March 3, 2017

      Interesting screed until you get to the guy who points out that three Armed Services Committee staffers attended the meeting with Sessions.

      Why would Armed services committee staffers be there for a campaign related meeting?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  March 3, 2017

      And another person who points out the email leaks (from Wikileaks – with as yet no evidence that Russians provided the details and a denial that Russia was involved from the leakers) were actually in July and November…

      So we have an on record meeting with staffers present and leaks that happened at other times.

      I can see a conspiracy here!

      Has anyone found anything clandestine or “off the record” that would point to actual wrongdoing, or do we just have a concerted effort by Trump hating media to do a join the dots exercise with the same skill and finesse as John Campbell’s miserable effort to paint John Key in a conspiracy to get Kim DC?