On March 1, a report detailing two meetings then-Senator Jeff Sessions had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the lead up to the 2016 election was released. As the fallout of the report continues to unfold, most Americans agree Sessions needs to resign from his role as U.S. attorney general.
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota asked Sessions during a Jan. 10 confirmation how he would respond to learning of Trump campaign meetings with Russian officials, reports The Washington Post.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions responded. He then continued, unprompted, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Sessions, responding to mounting calls for Sessions to resign. “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign -- not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”
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In a newly released poll by Quinnipiac University, pollsters asked if respondents believe Sessions lied under oath.
The survey asked respondents specifically about what Sessions said in his confirmation hearings:
As you may know, during his Cabinet confirmation hearing, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that he did not have any communications with Russian officials while working with the Trump campaign. It has since been revealed that he did meet with the Russian ambassador when he was a Senator on the Armed Services Committee and a top adviser for the Trump campaign. Do you think he lied under oath about this issue, or do you think he made an unclear statement without lying?
According to Politico, 52 percent of respondents believe Sessions did, in fact, lie under oath by not disclosing his meetings with the Russian ambassador. The survey further found that 51 percent of respondents believe Sessions should resign as a result of his actions.
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"The content of Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak may well be innocent," Paul Schiff Berman noted in an opinion article for The Hill. "But the fact that Sessions failed to disclose to Congress that the meetings took place is an independent problem that, as with [former U.S. Attorneys General] Kleindienst and Gonzales, requires Sessions to resign. And of course, if these meetings were so innocent, one wonders why Sessions went out of his way to deny their very existence during his confirmation hearings."
Sources: Politico, The Washington Post (2), The Hill / Photo credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons