News broke overnight that during his confirmation hearings, Senator Jeff Sessions likely perjured himself by asserting that he had not had contact with Russian government officials during the campaign. Reports surfaced in the Washington Post Wednesday night indicating that Sessions had met with the Russian Ambassador twice during the campaign – once on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention and once again in his Senate offices.
There has been no official comment from the White House.
The discrepancy in Sessions’ testimony strikes a familiar chord for critics of the Trump administration. In early February, as news of his conversations with the Russian ambassador broke, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn alleged that sanctions were not discussed during the meetings. That turned out not to be the case.
Sessions’ apparently false testimony represents the second time a Trump official has been less than forthcoming about contact with Russia during the campaign and before the inauguration. The fallout from this latest revelation of deeper connections between Donald Trump and the Russians include the following:
- Sessions will face increasing pressure to recuse himself from any investigation focused on the Trump campaign and administration and Russia.
- Sessions will have to answer some difficult questions very shortly – questions that will determine what consequences are appropriate. Many Democratic lawmakers are calling for Sessions’ resignation and there is a question that he perjured himself in sworn testimony.
- Pressure for Donald Trump to provide more information about his business connections with Russia will increase significantly. The president’s assertions that there has been no contact between his campaign and Russian intelligence officials does not seem to be holding up.
Trump’s tendency to award positions in his administration based on loyalty rather than competence or integrity continues to hamper his ability to implement his agenda. The American people deserve to know just how connected President Trump is to Russian money and Russian officials.