Politics

Sessions Spoke To Russian Ambassador During Campaign

| by Ray Brown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire for speaking with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and not disclosing the contact during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Democrats have long accused President Donald Trump of getting help from the Russian government to win the presidential election. And after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton unexpectedly lost to Trump, the accusations of Russian hackers helping the Trump campaign have grown.

Those accusations got a boost after The Washington Post reported that Sessions twice spoke to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kisylak, according to anonymous sources from the Justice Department, which Sessions leads.

The contents of the discussions between Sessions and Kislyak have not been released.

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During Sessions' Senate conformation hearing in January, Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota asked if Sessions, who was then the Republican senator from Alabama, had contact with the Russian government during the presidential campaign.

"If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?" Franken asked.

"I'm not aware of any of those activities," Sessions answered. "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn't have -- did not have communications with the Russians."

Sessions was eventually confirmed to serve as attorney general on Feb. 1.

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After anonymous Justice Department officials leaked to The Washington Post that Sessions spoke to the Russian ambassador, Franken commented.

"I had simply asked him: What would he do if he had learned that other members of the campaign had met with the Russians, hoping he would say that he would recuse himself," Franken told CNN, according to The Washington Post. "He chose not to answer that but instead chose to say that he had not met with the Russians."

Franken added: "And, of course, the ambassador from Russia is a Russian."

Several prominent Democrats, including, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have called on Sessions to resign.

"Now, after lying under oath to Congress about his own communications with the Russians, the attorney general must resign," Pelosi said in a statement. "Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law-enforcement officer of our country and must resign. There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal, and financial connections to the Russians."

"Now Jeff Sessions is [attorney general] -- the final say on the law enforcement investigation into ties between the Trump campaign & Russia? What a farce. This is not normal," Warren tweeted, according to CNN. "This is not fake news. This is a very real & serious threat to the national security of the United States."

Sources: The Washington Post (2), CNN / Photo credit: Office of the President-Elect/Wikimedia Commons

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