On Wednesday, Jeff Sessions found himself holding the Russian-ties-to-Donald-Trump hot potato of the day when CNN reported that Sessions did not disclose that he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on multiple occasions. It’s an odd omission on a form that asks a candidate to disclose all contacts they’ve had with foreign governments within the last seven years. Now, the potato-of-blame is being reportedly passed once again, but this time to a pair of unlikely recipients — the Department of Justice and the FBI. That is because The New York Times is reporting that a Justice Department spokesman now says that Sessions was told by his advisors and an FBI agent that he was not required to reveal such meetings.
Justice Department spokesperson Ian Prior tells the New York Times that Sessions was advised at the time that he was not required to disclose the meetings with the Russian ambassador, mainly, because his prior post as an Alabama Senator saw him take many such meetings with countless foreign entities as part of his daily government job, via The New York Times report;
“As a United States senator, the attorney general met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff. The attorney general’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the F.B.I. investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.”
The surprising advice it seems Sessions was given has not done him any favors since taking office as Trump’s pick as new Attorney General. He didn’t disclose his meetings when asked during Senate testimony and eventually recused himself from all Russia-related investigations. And now, he’s in some hot water for having his named attached to the firing of James Comey.