Republican Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in hot water after it emerged in a Washington Post report yesterday that he lied during his Senate confirmation hearing. During the hearing, Sessions was asked whether he had any contact with the Russian government to which he testified, under oath, that he “did not have communications with the Russians.” However, it turns out that Sessions actually had two conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak.
After calls from Democrats for Sessions to resign, and mounting pressure over the fact he committed perjury, which in some states is a felony, Sessions has now said he will recuse himself From the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia “whenever it’s appropriate.”
In an informal statement to NBC news, Sessions said:
Well I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaigns. Those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false. I don’t have anything else to say about that.
When asked about whether he will recuse himself he stated:
I have said whenever it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself.
One of Sessions’ conversations with Russian Ambassador Krislyak was during a phone call in September when U.S. intelligence officials claim that Russia was interfering with the 2016 election by hacking and influencing various figures in the campaign. The other instance was last July during a Heritage Foundation event at the Republican National Convention, which was attended by 50 Ambassadors. Kislyak was part of a group of diplomats who approached Sessions and had informal conversations with him.
Leading Republicans have now joined the clamor for Sessions to recuse himself, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) Tweeting:
AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 2, 2017
This came after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) called for Sessions to resign outright due to the allegations. Pelosi issued a statement reading:
Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. Under penalty of perjury, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have conserations with the Russians.” We now know that statement is false.
Now that senior Republicans have joined in the criticism of Sessions it won’t be long before he is forced to recuse himself. Once he’s excused himself from the case a significant hurdle will have been overcome in the fight to investigate, and ideally impeach, President Donald Trump. This debacle could spell the end for Sessions. This old-school racist has got away with not only doing a bad job as Attorney General in his home state of Alabama but systematically discriminating against African-Americans to the point that Martin Luther King Jr’s. widow wrote a letter opposing his nomination. It’s time for this disgrace to America to remove himself from politics and public life.
Watch Session’ statement to NBC news below:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) March 2, 2017