Amid calls from both sides of the political spectrum asking for his resignation or recusal, the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has decided to recuse himself from any investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Reports came out that Sessions did have communications with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during Trump’s campaign run. Previously, under oath, Sessions claimed that he “did not have communications with the Russians” when he was questioned about the topic in his Senate confirmation hearing.
When Sessions was pressed on giving details about his meetings with the Kislyak, he said that he could not recall exactly what was talked about, but added “most of these ambassadors are pretty gossipy.”
Throughout the campaign, Sessions was an outspoken advocate for Trump while he served as a Senator and member of the Armed Services Committee. One Justice Department official said Sessions was speaking to the ambassador as a member of the Senate and not as a Trump advocate.
Despite his recusal, Sessions wanted to make it clear that there is not an imminent investigation into Russia’s connections to the Trump campaign.
He said his “announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any investigation.”
After his announcement, many prominent Republicans and Democrats called for Session’s recusal and some even for his resignation. Top Democratic officials such as Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi are among the people asking for his resignation. On the other side of the aisle, Jason Chaffetz and Kevin McCarthy simply asked for Sessions to recuse himself.
House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in on the issue and said there was no reason for Sessions to recuse himself unless the investigations involve him directly.
Ryan stated, “If he himself is a subject of an investigation, of course he should (recuse himself.) But if he’s not, I don’t see any purpose or reason for doing this,”
Sessions has said that he is willing to clarify his statements to the Senate so all the confusion can be cleared up.
This is not the first time a Trump official has been affected by his connections to Russia; Paul Manafort, Carter Page and General Michael Flynn were all forced out of the Trump team after various connections to Russia were revealed.
In terms of the potential for a charge of perjury, which is a federal offense, Senator Al Franken came out and said today that he believes Sessions did perjure himself.
Franken, known for his sharp criticism of many of Trump’s federal appointees, said “It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself.”
We will update this story as it progresses.
–Contributed by: Bobby Amendola