Not one month after Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump, resigned from his post over allegations of improper relations with Russian politicians, a second Trump Cabinet member is under fire for identical allegations. Newly-confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing calls by Democrats for an investigation of his communication with the Russian ambassador in the lead-up to the presidential election.
According to The Hill, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for the FBI to launch a criminal investigation of Sessions. The case would center on whether Sessions lied to Congress under oath when asked during his confirmation hearings about his relations with Russia.
"Efforts by Attorney General Sessions to assert that his testimony was not false or even misleading because he met with the Russian Ambassador in his capacity as a Senator, rather than a campaign representative, appear to be disingenuous at best as the questions put to him did not in any way ask if the meeting was campaign related," reads the letter by the Committee to FBI Director James Comey, and U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Channing Phillips.
During Sessions' written and oral testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, asked Sessions what he would do as attorney general should he learn of contact between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
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"I'm not aware of any of those activities," Sessions responded. "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."
In a written question by Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, Sessions was asked if "he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election before or after Election Day."
Sessions responded, "No."
And criticism of Sessions is not confined to Democrats. Ryan McCarthy, the House Majority Leader and a Republican from California, called on the attorney general to recuse himself from any investigation of himself or of the Trump administration's ties to Russia.
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"I think ... you recuse yourself from these situations," McCarthy said, reports The New York Times. "For any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation."