Speculation has abounded about what Jeff Sessions knows about Russia’s election interference efforts and whether the attorney general perjured himself at his confirmation hearing and before the Senate’s Russia probe in June. None may be more eager to get to the bottom of that question than Senate Democrats, who will question Sessions on Tuesday during a routine oversight hearing. They want to get to the bottom of, among other things, what exactly was going on with George Papadopoulos.
In an official letter, the committee explained that the charges against Papadopoulos point to Sessions, who chaired the National Security Advisory Committee at which Papadopoulos allegedly offered to broker a meeting between Trump and Putin. The committee notes that, contrary to recent statements coming out of the White House, Popadopoulos had a sizable role in the campaign and was in touch with top members of the Trump team. The committee told Sessions in their letter that “these facts appear to contradict your sworn testimony on several occasions.”
There are other inconsistencies that have led to suspicions of Sessions. Not only did Sessions sit next to Papadopoulos at a campaign event prior to the Republican National Convention, Sessions was photographed near Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the an April 27, 2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, where Donald Trump gave a speech. It was Sessions’ undisclosed meetings with Kislyak that led him to recuse himself from the Senate’s investigation into the Trump camp’s possible collusion with Russia.
Though his aides said Sessions didn’t speak to Kislyak that day, their close proximity at the Mayflower cast doubt on Sessions’ assertion, under oath, that he was ignorant of contact between Moscow and the Trump team. The information gained from Papadopoulos also suggests that Sessions might have had more than a passing awareness of what conversations were talking place between which member of the Trump team and which of Putin’s emissaries. Not to mention the recent revelation that Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page told “a few people” about a July 2016 trip to Russia, including Papadopoulos and Sessions.
In addition to questions about Russia, the Senate also wants to ask Sessions why his Justice Department has left the oversight committee hanging on forty different matters they are charged with monitoring. Those letters requested information on topics including James Comey, Michael Flynn’s contact with Russians, and clarification on Sessions’ recusal.
(Via The Hill)