Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke twice with the Russian ambassador while he was serving as a top adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Washington Post reports.
During his confirmation hearings in January, Sessions was asked directly about whether he was aware of any contacts between Trump surrogates and the Russian government during the campaign.
Sessions acknowledged that he was a surrogate of the Trump campaign. But he definitively said that he had no contacts with Russia. “I did not have communications with the Russians,” he told Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).
Video of Sessions under oath denying he had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign pic.twitter.com/cnbAP187dZ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 2, 2017
He was testifying under oath.
Now, Sessions has admitted that he did have two conversations with the Russian ambassador — in July and September of 2016.
A spokeswoman for Sessions, oddly, maintains that “[t]here was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer” at the January hearing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “U.S. investigators have examined contacts Attorney General Jeff Sessions had with Russian officials during the time he was advising Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.” It’s unclear whether this investigation is ongoing.
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham (SC) said that, if Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador, there needs to be a special prosecutor appointed.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 2, 2017
CNN, citing multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials, reported earlier this month that there was “constant contact” between high-level advisers to the Trump campaign and “Russians known to U.S. intelligence.”
The New York Times also reported on Wednesday evening that American allies in Europe “had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump.”
But so far, there hasn’t been an independent investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives — and there are serious issues with all three investigations currently ongoing in Washington.
For example, the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), have been helping White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus counter negative press reports about Trump aides’ potential ties to Russia.
UPDATE (10:39 PM): Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, calls on Jeff Sessions to resign.
Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Government Oversight Committee, calls on Jeff Sessions to resign immediately. pic.twitter.com/svdDFr9iBm
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) March 2, 2017
UPDATE: (10:57 PM): Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi calls on Sessions to resign.
INBOX: @NancyPelosi: "Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign."
— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) March 2, 2017