The top Republican ethics lawyer who gave Donald Trump an ultimatum to obey the Constitution or be forced from office just gave a chilling summary of the damning evidence against Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
The Republican Attorney General lied to Congress in January’s confirmation hearings when he told Democratic Senator Al Franken that he had no contacts with Russian nationals in front of the Senate. Now, Republican ethics lawyer Richard W. Painter has responded with a chilling conclusion about the ex-Alabama Senator’s political career, which has been abruptly destroyed tonight:
“Misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one own contacts with the Russians is a good way to go to jail”
The laws that make lying to Congress a felony can yield a prison sentence of up to eight years depending on the nature of the offense.
Richard Painter is the same former White House ethics lawyer who filed a bipartisan complaint against FBI Director James Comey for his infamous October surprise letter. He’s also Vice Chairman of CREW and involved in the non-profit’s lawsuit against Donald Trump to enforce the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which happened after his ultimatum made the news.
Just as Painter was tweeting that he wanted a response from Attorney General Sessions, the Justice Department released a statement which completely pretends like he didn’t just lie in person and totally ignores that he lied in writing to a specific question about Russian contacts posed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Sessions simply answered: No.
Here’s Sessions’s spin on lying to Congress, which you can get away with doing as a member of the Senate, but not in sworn testimony:
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) March 2, 2017
It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of Jeff Sessions to the Trump team because he isn’t just Attorney General, but was also a key component of the campaign. Sessions brought his assistant Stephen Miller (the man with dead eyes who decrees presidential authority ‘shall not be questioned’) to Trump, and he’s now a White House Senior Advisor.
Sessions headed Trump’s National Security Council on the campaign trail. He brought in the former Merrill Lynch Russia investment banker Carter Page, Ph.D. into the campaign, which the Washington Post editorial board discovered from Trump during a recorded meeting in March. Post-election, the former Senator grabbed a far larger role in the Trump Transition team after the President-elect’s son-in-law Jared Kushner settled a score with Republican Governor Chris Christie, for prosecuting his multi-millionaire father.
To underscore the point of how central Jeff Sessions is to Trump’s political power, on January 25th,
Breitbart the American Pravda wrote this about him in early 2016: “Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the intellectual leader of the modern conservative movement and the catalyst behind much of the rise of nationalist populism in this election cycle.”
Democrats did everything they could to prevent the Senate from confirming a man so racist that he couldn’t be a federal district judge to hold America’s top law enforcement position. Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) made the literally unprecedented move of testifying against a fellow Senator.
Now that the lies of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III have been revealed, and specifically revealed to show that he hid contacts with Russia’s Ambassador – while he calmly watched disgraced NSA Director Gen. Michael Flynn go down in flames for lying about contacts with the very same official – it is time for the former Senator to resign his post.
It’s going to be embarrassing for Jeff Sessions to become the shortest serving Attorney General confirmed by Congress in American history, but what other choice does he have unless he’s going to turn the whole affair over to a special prosecutor immediately.
Jeff Sessions is bound to resign the role of US Attorney General shortly.
Misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one own contacts with the Russians is a good way to go to jail https://t.co/qH0s6sTMJ9
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 2, 2017
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition