For someone who is supposed to be serving as the top law enforcement officer of the United States, Jeff Sessions sure has a seemingly hard time keeping his facts straight.
In perhaps the most infamous example of this tendency, when pressed by Senator Al Franken during his confirmation process on the question of whether or not he’d had contacts with Russia, he insisted that he had no such contacts.
As it turns out, he did. He met more than once with former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak; when pressed as to why he’d concealed those meetings, he claimed to have understood Franken’s question as only applying to his role as a surrogate of the Donald Trump campaign.
Now, a report from Reuters indicates that Sessions may have lied about yet another issue associated with the Russia scandal.
The photo has been widely circulated at this point of Sessions sitting at a table with then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and an array of other men at a March 2016 foreign policy meeting.
At that meeting, as it’s come out in the time since, now former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested that Trump meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, saying he had contacts who could set such a meeting up.
Sessions has claimed in testimony to Congress that he pushed back against Papadopoulos’ suggestion. Now, however, Reuters is reporting that three unnamed participants in that meeting have accounts that all agree on the point that Sessions did not actually push back against George Papadopoulos’ idea for a Trump/Putin meeting.
These three individuals have all reportedly relayed their accounts of the March 2016 meeting to either Congressional investigators or FBI agents. Reuters notes that on points besides that of Sessions’ lack of objections to the Trump/Putin meeting idea, the three accounts the outlet received “differed… in certain respects.”
In addition, there is one participant in that meeting who had backed up Sessions’ account of shooting down Papadopoulos’ idea. J.D. Gordon, who served as the Trump campaign’s director of national security, has done so in conversations with an array of media outlets.
If Sessions did lie and Gordon is for whatever reason going along with the lie, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Attorney General was caught in an untruth. Besides the fact that, as mentioned, he concealed his meetings with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, he also claimed at one time to have not had any knowledge of Trump campaign connections to Russian interests.
That claim obviously can’t coexist with the claim that he shot down a suggestion for a Trump/Putin meeting.
Sessions’ initial lies — all of which he’s so far avoided accountability for, thanks to the defense of having testified to the best of his “recollection” — led to him having to recuse himself from the Russia investigation as a whole.
A chain of events including that recusal led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has so far brought charges against four former Trump associates and an array of other interests. Trump has expressed anger over Sessions’ choosing to recuse himself, seemingly under the impression that if he hadn’t, Mueller might not have been appointed.
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