With the news that Sessions lied under oath about his communications with Russia, one gets the sense that the net might be starting to tighten around Trump

I know this is old news, as the story first broke last night, but sometimes it helps me to write this stuff down… So, with that said, here’s what I think is going on. Please correct me if I get anything wrong.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the new Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the United States, had, during his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, not told the truth in response to questions about whether or not he’d had any interactions with representatives of the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign, when, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, the Kremlin was actively attempting to influence the outcome of the election.

Senator Al Franken, during Sessions’ confirmation hearing, asked him what he would do if he were to learn that a member of the Trump team had been in communication with the Russians during the campaign. Sessions, after acknowledging that he himself was a Trump “surrogate” during the campaign, said, “I did not have communications with the Russians.”

As a part of the confirmation process, Franken and the other Senators on the Judiciary Committee were also able to submit questions in writing to Sessions. Senator Patrick Leahy asked the following. “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 responded with a single word. “No.”

But now, thanks to the reporting of the Washington Post, and whatever breadcrumbs may have been left by the previous administration, in hopes that the facts would eventually get out, we know Sessions perjured himself in his responses to both Franken and Leahy.

We know that, despite his comments to the contrary, Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, a man thought widely to be one of Putin’s top spies and recruiter of spies, twice in the past year. [Kislyak is the same man that Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied about talking with during the campaign.] According to the article in the Washington Post, Sessions and Kislyak met on at least two occasions — once during the Republican National Convention last July, when, as you might remember, the Trump campaign introduced Russia-friendly language into the Republican platform, and again in Sessions’ Senate office this past September, at the height of the Kremlin’s hacking campaign.

Sessions acknowledged both meetings in a statement issued late yesterday, but added that the they had nothing to do with the campaign. He said that he met with Kislyak in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Sercices Committee, not as a surrogate of Donald Trump. The Washington Post, however, contacted all 26 members of the Committee and asked if any of them had, like Sessions, met with Kislyak during 2016 on Committee business. Of the 20 that have respondedd thus far, none had.

So, last night, as you might imagine, people starting calling for his head. Richard Painter, the chief ethics officer under George W. Bush said, “Misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one’s own contacst with the Russians is a good way to go to jail.” And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Bill Clinton was impeached for “something so far less.”

Speaking of the impeachment of Bill Clinton, here’s something Sessions said back in 1998, during those hearings: “I have no doubt that perjury qualifies under the Constitution as a high crime,” he said. “It goes to the heart of the judicial system.”


While I didn’t see much evidence today of Republicans demanding that Sessions follow in Flynn’s footsteps and step down, a number of them did begin to speak out, suggesting that Sessions should probably recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into the role Russia played during the 2016 election. Trump, however, stayed supportive, saying that the Attorney General still had his “total” confidence. Furthermore, when asked by a reporter if Sessions should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Trump said, “I don’t think so.” In spite of this, though, Sessions came out later this afternoon and said he would be recusing himself.

As for whether or not Sessions will be able to hold on to his job as our head law enforcement official, I’m not sure. Given the fact that the Republicans control every branch of government, I think it would be difficult for the Democrats to force him out. Then again, with every passing hour, more information surfaces. In the time I’ve been writing this, not only have I heard that evidence has surfaced that Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn met with Kislyak during the transition, but that Kislyak was actually in the audience at the Washington hotel where Trump delivered his first foreign policy speech of his campaign last April. [In the speech, Trump said great things about Russia.] Oh, and I’m listening to news right now that former Trump advisor Carter Page has refused to deny that he talked with Kislyak at the GOP convention last July.

So, just to recap, we now know that Kislyak, Putin’s main man in the U.S., was not only in the audience when Trump gave his first foreign policy speech praising Putin’s regime this past April, but we also know that he was at the Republican National Convention in July, when the Trump team demanded that pro-Russia language be inserted into the GOP platform. I think it’s safe to say that the pieces are beginning to fall into place.

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  1. XXX
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    We also learned yesterday that Trump Jr. was likely paid $50K to participate in an event hosted by Russian allies: report http://hill.cm/RluEr1R

  2. Meta
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The Independent: “US Senate calls on British spy Christopher Steele to give evidence on explosive Trump-Russia dossier”

    Exclusive: Republicans and Democrats in Congress keen to facilitate discreet meetings in the UK or on neutral territory, as pressure grows on President

    Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy who prepared the explosive Trump report, has been approached about testifying before the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the new President’s alleged links with Russia, The Independent can reveal.

    Mr Steele’s friends say it is currently unlikely he would be willing to travel to the US. But it is understood Democrats – as well as some Republicans – in Congress are prepared to facilitate discreet initial meetings in the UK or on other neutral territory.

    John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent an intermediary to London in November last year to collect Mr Steele’s dossier, which was subsequently passed personally by the Senator to FBI director James Comey.

    And Mr Steele had, while carrying out his Trump inquiry, himself liaised for regular periods with the bureau.

    Mr Trump has personally attacked Mr Steele, declaring the report on the Kremlin connection by the former MI6 officer as a fabricated work, put together by a “failed spy”.

    In reality, Mr Steele was, and continues to be, held in high regard by British security and intelligence services as well as the American security officials who worked with him in the past.

    It emerged this week that the FBI had, at one stage, proposed to pay him to continue his investigation into Mr Trump and his associates.

    Read more:

  3. Meta
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The meeting between Jared Kushner, Michiael Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak in December took place at Trump Tower, the White House just confirmed.


  4. anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The Daily Beast has an interesting article today about how Sessions’ opinions on Russia markedly changed over the course of the last year. The following is a quote from the article (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/02/sessions-s-contact-the-russian-ambassador-a-spy-or-not-a-spy.html):

    The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Kislyak spoke with future U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on two occasions last year, while the then-senator was advising Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. One of these exchanges took place in Sessions’ office, along with two of his senior adies, on Sep. 8, shortly before the election and in the midst of what U.S. intelligence agencies are unanimous in concluding was a concerted Russian cyber espionage and disinformation campaign to influence the outcome of that contest. During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

    Sessions’ office now says that he met with Kislyak strictly in his capacity as a senator, not as a campaign advisor. The second time he spoke to Kislyak was on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July. The senator gave a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation. According to spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, Sessions’ speech was attended by around 50 ambassadors, a group of which approached him afterward to invite him to other foreign-sponsored functions. He didn’t attend any, Flores said.

    Maybe. But Sessions’ views on Russia changed markedly over the course of a year. In late March 2015, he told Real Clear World that it “needs to be clear that Russia knows that there will be a high price to pay if this behavior continues,” referring to Putin’s strongarm tactics in Georgia and his invasion of Ukraine. But once he’d joined the Trump campaign as chairman of its national security advisory committe, his tone began to soften. “I think an argument can be made there is no reason for the U.S. and Russia to be at this loggerheads,” he said before an audience at the American Council for Capital Formation in mid-March. “Somehow, someway we ought to be able to break that logjam. Strategically it’s not justified for either country. It may not work. Putin may not be able to be dealt with, but I don’t condemn his instincts that we ought to attempt to do that.”

    Then, on July 31, 2016, about a week following his tête-à-tête with Kislyak in Cleveland, Sessions became even more reconciliatory, telling CNN: “This whole problem with Russia is really disastrous for America, for Russia and for the world. Donald Trump is right. We need to figure out a way to end this cycle of hostility that’s putting this country at risk, costing us billions of dollars in defense, and creating hostilities.”

  5. Eel
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    You must look.


  6. Jean Henry
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Kushner being at that December Trump tower meeting is a huge red flag. That guy is basically running our foreign policy. Even Tillerson has no free reign but is constantly being monitored (cock blocked) by a white house liaison with no foreign policy experience. The state department is a dead zone. They have nothing to do.

    “They really want to blow this place up,” said the mid-level State Department officer. “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows nothing.”


  7. Max
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I’m guessing that information is being strategically revealed on a specific timeline for the maximum effect so that eventually the Republican lead House and Senate will be forced to enact an independent investigation. It seems apparent that there is enough information here already to start the investigation, but after the election, I’m not about to say anything is certain anymore. This shit’s crazy!

  8. M
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Even the Wall Street Journal is getting in on the fun.

    “Jeff Sessions Used Political Funds for Republican Convention Expenses: Records show attorney general used campaign account for travel expenses to Cleveland, where he met Russian envoy”

    So I guess that means he was on campaign business, and not the business of the Armed Forces Committee, right?


  9. Jeannie Marie
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

  10. Jack Andrew Gillard
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I read the Post’s article from July 18. The platform meeting was the week before. JD Gordon was the lead Trump surrogate on the Ukraine platform. July 20th was the Convention seminar that the Russian ambassador Gordon, Sessions etc were there. July 22nd Wikileaks starts releasing emails. Quid Pro Quo? Someone needs to do timelines on all these actors from Chrisopher Steele, Trump and his minions, Russians and Intel community.

  11. Lynne
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I am worried that even this will not stop people from voting for these guys. I get it that districts are gerrymandered but decent Republicans can pose primary challenges. Heck, I am getting involved in my parent’s district and am going to vote in that district in 2018. I think I am going to vote in the GOP primary too if someone decent runs.

    I have been trying to get my Dad to run but he says he is too old but he would be perfect! He joined the GOP to get on their mailing list to see what they are up to (LOL) which means that technically he is already a Republican (but also a Democrat because it turns out you can send money to both parties and they let you)! He barely has an online presence and what he does have is some advice about how to negotiate with unions on the Michigan Municipal League website. He is a former president of the Michigan Public Employers Labor Relations Association which can be spun to make it look like he fits the GOP anti-union ideology even though he is actually very pro-union. He has spent *hours* drinking beer with conservative old men at the S. Lyon Hotel so he knows how to talk to them. He can spin liberal ideas in ways that appeal to conservatives. I know I am biased but I am going to find out what is needed to run and I am going to keep working him until the filing deadline :)

    Still, it probably will not work. I think we need another ringer or even an actual Republican who isn’t vile.

  12. EOS
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink


  13. stupid hick
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Bravo Lynne! The Republicans need good, reasonable, people to help them reign themselves in.

  14. earthlink
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Trump furious that Sessions recused himself: report http://hill.cm/oJPzprv

  15. jean henry
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Trump just countered with his own conspiracy:

    EOS– what do you think of Trumps allegations?
    Although frankly the views on validity of theory from someone who thinks the earth is a few thousand years old will likely not bear much weight.

  16. Quinnipiac poll
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Majority want Sessions to resign, think he lied under oath http://bit.ly/2lEraAc

  17. conspiracy theorist
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    If PATRIBOTICS is to be believed, “Carter Page Went to Moscow With a Tape of Donald Trump Offering Treason For Hacking”


    “Sources with links to the intelligence community say it is believed that Carter Page went to Moscow in early July carrying with him a pre-recorded tape of Donald Trump offering to change American policy if he were to be elected, to make it more favorable to Putin. In exchange, Page was authorized directly by Trump to request the help of the Russian government in hacking the election.”

  18. The Hill
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Trump: I never would have appointed Sessions if I knew he’d recuse on Russia http://hill.cm/N3XK99F

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