In the newly resurrected 1999 C-SPAN interview, now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions (then an Alabama senator) can be seen discussing President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and alleged perjury. He stressed that lying under oath is a serious matter. “As a former federal prosecutor for 12 years [and state] attorney general for two years, I know and believe very deeply in the rule of law,” he said. “In America… no one is above the law.” Even a recently confirmed U.S. Attorney General, it turns out.
On Thursday, Sessions denied claims made by the Washington Post, which asserted that he spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential election. At the time, the Alabama senator was a member of the Armed Services Committee and may or may not have had a legitimate reason for the communication. Yet he was also a top foreign policy advisor to Trump, so when Sen. Al Franken asked Sessions whether he had knowledge of possible Russian connections during confirmation, he said no. In other words, the eventual U.S. Attorney General allegedly lied under oath.
“I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign,” Sessions told reporters early Tuesday morning. “Those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false. And I don’t have anything else to say about that.” When asked about his past comments regarding Franken and others’ questions about then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned in February over his contact with Kislyak, Sessions noted “whenever it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself. There’s no doubt about that.”
Yet if the Post‘s story (and the New York Times reporting it seemingly validates) proves true, then Sessions may have to do more than recuse himself. Why? Because in telling Franken he wasn’t aware of any possible contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, the attorney general may have committed perjury. Hence why the Minnesotan senator floated the possibility Sessions may have to resign during a Morning Joe interview. (Even House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, suggested Sessions should at least recuse himself from any Russia-centric investigations.)