Jeff Sessions is supposed to be serving as chief law enforcement officer of the United States, but a web of lies that he’s been caught in casts his fitness for the position into serious question. Now, he has a new excuse for his lying — the Trump campaign was in such a state of “chaos” that according to him, there’s no way he should be expected to remember all the times that a staffer reached out or attempted to reach out to Russia.
Late last month, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime Manafort and Trump associate Rick Gates were indicted on charges associated with a money laundering scheme they’d operated as a part of work for pro-Russia political interests in the Ukraine.
On the same day that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office unveiled its charges against Manafort and Gates, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous was revealed to have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Papadopolous lied about the timing of a contact of his with a Russian professor promising dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton, in a similar fashion to how Donald Trump Jr. was promised dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
Papadopolous said that his contact with that professor came before he started working for Trump, when in fact, the contact came after he started working for him.
That’s not all, though. Papadopolous was also part of a March 2016 meeting between Trump and top members of his campaign, and at that meeting, he suggested setting up a secret meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The existence of this meeting and Papadopolous having made the suggestion he did poses a big problem for the Trump team since Jeff Sessions insisted in testimony before Congress that he did not know any contacts between the Trump team and Russia.
Sessions, in fact, shot down Papadopolous’ suggestion at that meeting, as has come out in recent weeks.
The attorney general’s defense is that he forgot about the tentative plans for a secret Trump-Putin meeting; he says he now remembers it.
While appearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions explained himself further, resorting to explaining away his lies by saying that the “chaos” of the Trump campaign caused him to forget what had happened.
Sessions claimed to the Committee that he had no recollection of the meeting before he saw news reports about it, saying:
‘I do now recall that the March 2016 meeting at the Trump hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting… I did not recall this event which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago. And I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it, because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper.’
Sessions’ defense, then, is that he shouldn’t be expected to remember something that happened over a year ago.
Speaking to the committee, he continued:
‘Most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign, and none of you had a part in the Trump campaign. It was a brilliant campaign, I think, in many ways, but it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply, and I was still a full time senator with a very full schedule.’
Sessions, of course, is not the only member of the president’s team to maintain that the Trump team is innocent in the Russia scandal.
Trump, for example, tweeted a belligerent message to that effect following Manafort and Gates getting indicted.
Featured image via screenshot from the video.