June 13, 2017

Jeff Sessions will testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee today (at 2:30 ET).

Here's the NYT guide to watching, with the 2 main areas of inquiry crisply stated:
• In March, Mr. Sessions recused himself from any inquiry related to the 2016 presidential campaign. Although he justified that decision as stemming only from the fact that he had played a role in the Trump campaign, it came after a report that he had two contacts with the Russian ambassador last year despite having testified at his confirmation hearing that he had not communicated with the Russians. (He has argued that his testimony was accurate in context.)

• He has been under renewed scrutiny since his role came up several times during testimony before the Intelligence Committee last week by James B. Comey, whom President Trump fired as F.B.I. director. In a letter to Congress on Saturday, Mr. Sessions said he wanted to address those matters before the same panel.
On that second point, Comey testified that when Trump shooed Sessions out of the room on February 14th, Sessions was silent. The Justice Department put out a statement saying Sessions actually did say something about the importance of "following appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House."

There's also the question of whether Sessions was involved in the decision to fire Comey, whether the firing had to do with the Russian investigation, and whether, if both of those things are true, Sessions failed to live up to the requirements of recusal.

61 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Trump firing Comey bothers me for another reason that I haven't heard stated: Trump was not his immediate superior. Sessions was. If Comey should have been fired, Sessions should have done it. Trump knows hierarchy and how to handle it.

I don't get Trump firing the dog-catcher in Hoboken.

David Begley said...

A report that Sessions was told (by someone) not to disclose one contact. I, for one, would like to see Sessions display some anger. This whole thing is nuts.

Owen said...

I would like Sessions to show up, announce he has fired Mueller, and drop the mic.

David Begley said...

And someone should ask Sessions about the lawyers Mueller has hired. Two are significant Democrat party contributors and one represented the Clinton Foundation.

David Begley said...

From Power Line, "Mueller has also tapped Jeannie Rhee, formerly a federal prosecutor and high-level Justice Department official. Rhee provided legal services for the Clinton Foundation, a fact the Washington Post omits from its account. In addition, she donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC “Hillary for America.” "

Kevin said...

"Trump was not his immediate superior. Sessions was. If Comey should have been fired, Sessions should have done it. Trump knows hierarchy and how to handle it."

How was Sessions supposed to do that when he'd already recused himself?

The President appoints him. The President can fire him.

rhhardin said...

The lines of responsibility are hopelessly screwed up just so that the executive can't operate. The idea is to make it worse.

Ralph L said...

I'm still waiting for someone at the FBI to pay for sending 900 Republican files to the Clinton WH. It told me something was really rotten at the DoJ, not just the WH, which we already knew about. Imagine if that happened now at the Trump WH.

Curious George said...

"Bob Ellison said...
Trump firing Comey bothers me for another reason that I haven't heard stated: Trump was not his immediate superior. Sessions was. If Comey should have been fired, Sessions should have done it. Trump knows hierarchy and how to handle it."

You haven't heard it stated because it is idiocy. The FBI director serves at the pleasure of the President. I'm not sure how Trump telling Sessions to fire Comey changes anything anyway.

Virtually Unknown said...

They keep raising on this busted flush. But look what the cat dragged in...

Comey told lawmakers in the close door session that he raised his concern with the attorney general that she had created a conflict of interest by meeting with Clinton’s husband, the former President Bill Clinton, on an airport tarmac while the investigation was ongoing.

During the conversation, Comey told lawmakers he confronted Lynch with a highly sensitive piece of evidence, a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton.

Comey said “the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office,” said one source who was briefed.

Bob Ellison said...

Today is Trump is Mussolini Day at NPR. The Cabinet meeting yesterday had Secretaries saying they "deeply honored" to serve, and NPR thinks that phrase is weird.

Trump is Mussolini. The Trump is Hitler thing fizzled, so he's Mussolini.

Virtually Unknown said...

I bet the "highly sensitive" document was a picture of grandchildren, and a secret recipe for "Arkansas Poutine," so closely held nobody who has never sat around a moonshine still on a summer night has ever heard of it.

Ann Althouse said...

"a communication between two political figures that suggested"

That's a very weak phrase!

MadisonMan said...

Sessions' appearance is the latest in a long line of "guaranteed to bring about impeachment" events according to my Facebook feed.

Virtually Unknown said...

That's a very weak phrase!

Depends on whether you are trying to respect some level of confidentiality or not. Since they go to such lengths, one sacred cow of a "political figure" comes to mind, protected from satire, covered for in every gaffe, often photographed with a halo.... In that case it's pretty strong, depending on one's intent.

Bob Ellison said...

This is not difficult:

1) Lynch met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac, an extraordinary thing, and it lasted for about half an hour.

2) Lynch later met with Comey and said I'm out. I can't be involved in EmailGate, because I'm compromised.

3) Comey stepped in and said EmailGate was not a big deal.

It all goes according to plan.

Virtually Unknown said...

Comey reportedly related that the document was the real reason he went public during the campaign, and the tarmac meeting was the pretext.

Virtually Unknown said...

The great thing about Comey is that he apparently won't lie under oath to protect his political sponsors. Maybe good ole Efram Zimbalist Jr's ghost still haunts his dreams....

Sebastian said...

Sessions was a pussy for recusing himself. Trump should have squelched the recusal or fired him. Now "independent" Comey buddy Mueller is assembling a leftist hit team, which will find its Marah Stewart or Scooter Libby before long--preferably near the Oval Office, of course. It is inconceivable the Dems would let something so stupid happen. They fight.

Virtually Unknown said...

He was foreclosed from taking the Fifth, which he prolly shoulda done, because the press wouldn't protect him like they did Lerner, but would eat him alive over the whole Hillary's above the law. thing.

Kevin said...

Let Sessions testify. In public. Under oath. Answering any and all questions.

And when he's done, invite Lynch to do the same.

stlcdr said...

Why does the lie keep on getting repeated that Sessions lied at the confirmation hearings?

Virtually Unknown said...

Why does the lie keep on getting repeated that Sessions lied at the confirmation hearings?

"and yet, they persisted."

Bob Ellison said...

1) Lynch met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac, an extraordinary thing, and it lasted for about half an hour.

That was not planned?

You're on the tarmac at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, one of the busiest airports in the world. You're on the plane, probably enjoying a Bloody Mary. The Attorney General of the United States shows up, walks up the goddamn ladder, and talks with you for half an hour.

That was not planned?

Please.

chickelit said...

I expect Sen. Kamala Harris to go after Sessions the hardest (driven by her passive-aggressive stance on immigration); I expect Ted Cruz to rise to Sessions' defense.

Rene Saunce said...

Of course the Bill-Loretta meeting to discuss 'why isn't thing thing wrapped up, Loretta?' ... 'you need to put an end to this, Loretta.' ... 'You promised to take care of this and make the "matter" go away, Loretta.' WAS planned.

What was not planned was the local media taking notice. (Come on media - you're supposed to be a loyal arm to the democrat party and look away.)

Rene Saunce said...

Why does the lie keep on getting repeated that Sessions lied at the confirmation hearings?


I heard that on ABC news. The media are an arm to the democrat party, that's why.

Tim said...

Ssessions is about as straight arrow as you can get. Holder was/is a corrupt (and criminal dating back to Columbia U days) activist that got kid glove treatment protected by black democratium.

Hagar said...

Bill Clinton was in Phoenix and delayed his departure when he was told Loretta Lynch was expected. He hung around for several hours and then went over to her plane and went aboard when she landed.
And the speculation at the time was that Obama would push her to abandon her campaign in the face of the gathering storm about her private server, etc.
I think Hillary! told him to tell Lynch to tell her boss (Obama) to forget it; she was not going to quit under any circumstances whatever, and if he went public with any statements to push her, he would regret it.
And Obama folded - as usual when he meets determined resistance.

Hagar said...

"Her" = Hillary!

Duh!

Michael K said...

I hope Sessions is strong today. He has been slimed by Democrats before, mostly smarter than Kamala Harris.

Steve Uhr said...

As for whether he had a role in the dismissal of Comey and whether the dismissal of Comey related to Russia, I think it has been established beyond dispute that the answer is Yes and Yes. Sessions sent a cover letter to Trump advocating for the dismissal of Comey, and Trump said that he fired Comey because of the Russian thing. Am I missing something?

Gusty Winds said...

If true, Trump was right to be angry that Sessions caved and recused himself so early. Recuse himself from what? The investigation into a crime that didn't occur?

I'm not happy with Sessions. We sent Trump to Washington to fight the Deep State, and wrestle control of this country away from all those embedded in the swamp. Now you have Mueller assembling Clinton donating lawyers to his "let's find a crime" team.

If Lynch could stretch the ethics of her involvement in an investigation to meeting Bill Clinton last summer, and ordering Comey to use the word "matter" instead of "investigation", Sessions had no business bowing out. We'll see what today brings.

Gusty Winds said...

Republicans are so afraid to use the power that the voters gave them. The Dems can politicize the Justice Dept and act as if there is nothing wrong. It's an amazing talent.

And it is also why Trump beat a field of 17 for the GOP nomination last year. We wanted a guy that would go to Washington and play offense.

Sessions better come through today.

Francisco D said...

A few days ago, Inga was bleating that Sessions abruptly pulled out of a public joint session to speak, in private, to the Senate Intelligence Committee. I understand this will be in public.

I predict that there will be a lot of posturing on the part of the Democrats because they know better than others that there is nothing there to investigate. It's obstruction disguised as political theater.

Rene Saunce said...

He met with Russian ambassadors. He met with many ambassadors from many nations. When democrats meet with Russians - it's all OK.

Jeff Sessions - OMG! Collusion with Russians!

Kevin said...

I expect Sen. Kamala Harris to go after Sessions the hardest (driven by her passive-aggressive stance on immigration)

Nah, it's that people in California are hearing she might be the nominee in 2020, and she needs some YouTube videos like Elizabeth Warren has (Harris DESTROYS Jeff Sessions with one sentence!) to start ramping up her fundraising efforts.

Why are there two Senators from California on the Intel Committee? Because Feinstein won't step down and Harris needs substantive TV time to get the whole "first woman president" thing back on the rails before Nikki Haley swoops in and "steals" it from them.

With Team Clinton's Terry McAuliffe in the news today wink-winking about 2020, the pressure is on Team Obama's Kamala Harris to put the spotlight back on herself.

Poor Corey Booker is stuck waving his arms, hoping someone will take notice of him, over in Foreign Relations.

Kevin said...

I just hope Sessions nails it today.

And then I hope Trump rushes into the room afterwards and gives Jeff a bear hug and a big, wet smooch on the lips!

cubanbob said...

Sessions just for shits and giggles should appoint several special prosecutors to investigate Comey, Lynch, Holder, the Clintons and Obama and the IRS and the various intelligence services along with the FBI and the DoJ. The shitstorm will guarantee high entertainment value for years and give Trump plenty to tweet about for the next four years.

eric said...

The Republicans are asking for trouble by allowing this farce to go on. It's never going to end. Never.

The longer they let this go, the harder it'll be to stop it. They aren't doing themselves any favors but letting this carry on and on and on.

Birkel said...

Many people advised Governor Walker to cut short the protests, the investigations and all the assorted shenanigans that Democrats tried. Walker emerged from his recall election a much more powerful Wisconsin and national figure. The reason that is true is because the governor's political enemies had discarded the middle class which looked at the ongoing nonsense for what it was.

Democrats want power. In that pursuit they sometimes forget that the raw exercise of that power is off-putting to normal people.

Steve Uhr said...

How is it that Trump never became part of the so-called Deep State?

n.n said...

This is a progressive hunt. Just abort the baby already. You know you want to. He's an inconvenience to sustaining your status quo.

Bay Area Guy said...

Dershowitz -- an honorable liberal -- has nailed all this to the wall.

The Dems are trying to "criminalize" political disputes. That's all, nothing more.

To repeat:

1. The FBI is not investigating President Trump for any criminal "collusion" with the Russians.

2. It is perfectly lawful for President Trump to fire his subordinate, Comey, for no reason or any reason.

Think about it. Trump could pardon Flynn right now. Technically, Trump could pardon himself! He might take some political heat for these decisions, he could conceivably lose his next political election in 2020, if enough people are upset. But it's legal and authorized by the Constitution.

Finally, the wacko Dems in Congress who keep yapping about impeachment are clueless, too.

1. The GOP majority House won't impeach.
2. The GOP majority Senate won't remove.
3. Most importantly, there are no "high crimes and misdemeanors" to support any impeachment.

The Left should give it up, and try to find some plausible Prez candidate for 2020. But they are still foundering on the Kubler-Ross stages of grief model, somewhere between bargaining and depression.

Kevin said...

The Dems are trying to "criminalize" political disputes. That's all, nothing more.

"At the end of Orwell's "1984," the thought policeman O'Brien is torturing the protagonist Winston Smith into believing two plus two equals five. What O'Brien says is the point, is that he wants to convince Smith that whatever the party says is the truth, and the truth is whatever the party says. And what O'Brien knows is that once this thought is accepted, critical dissent is impossible. You can't speak truth to power if the power speaks truth by definition."

Drago said...

eric: "The Republicans are asking for trouble by allowing this farce to go on. It's never going to end. Never."

You are assuming a large block of establishment republicans aren't in full alignment with the Dems regardless of the ramifications, permanent, to our republic of removing a duly elected President on the basis of "feelz" alone.

You would be wrong.

Yancey Ward said...

I think Drago is right about a lot of the Republicans in the House and Senate, especially those in leadership positions, most of whom predate the election of 2010. And they are fools for believing they won't pay a price in 2018 for only taking Trump to the edge of impeachment, but without actually doing it. They seemingly don't realize that there is way to separate themselves from Trump's failure or success.

This is the one admirable thing about Democrats- they don't delude themselves into thinking the other side plays fair.

Yancey Ward said...

No way to separate themselves.

Virtually Unknown said...

How is it that Trump never became part of the so-called Deep State?

He was when Bill and Hillary attended his wedding. Some of these ex-president get togethers, like George H W's funeral, are going to be pretty darn interesting with both Julius Caesar and Falstaff in attendance.

Michael K said...

"How is it that Trump never became part of the so-called Deep State?"

The Deep State is made up of politicians and bureaucrats and the lobby industry in DC and the state capitals. Think tanks are also part as they churn out talking points.

Trump represents the private sector which spends its time and billions trying to get something done in spite of the Deep State. They pay the bribes and hire the lobbyists but they hate them with a passion.

That you can't distinguish them says something about you.

Browndog said...

3. Most importantly, there are no "high crimes and misdemeanors" to support any impeachment.

It's seems to me that ship has sailed.

All you need now is the will. The High Crime is being detested by your political opponents, and the misdemeanors are simply exercising your lawful duties as said President.

Nearly every Democrat would vote for Impeachment tomorrow, would they not?

Steve Uhr said...

"they pay the bribes" Excluding Trump of course.

Marie said...

Bob Ellison,

President Trump's letter firing Comey says it is upon recommendation by both the AG and Deputy AG that Comey is terminated.

AG Session has, of course, recused himself, so no comment from him. However Deputy Rosenstein was reported to have denied having to do with Comey's firing and was about to resign his position, which of course he didn't.

Rosenstein instead chose to fight Trump back by appointing Mueller to be Special Prosecutor. Mueller is the former FBI director and Comey's BFF. This is like the DOJ investigating itself.

Move on, there's nothing to see here, until Trump falls off the tree and Maxine Watters takes over as President. End of comedy/drama.

Steve Uhr said...

Since we're talking about 1984, the cabinet all licking Trump's a** yesterday on cue was something you see in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq under Saddam, etc. ...

Chuck said...

This could be more news-making than Comey.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

If there was any real news it would have already leaked. Now we wait for the "news-making" spin.

Kevin said...

This could be more news-making than Comey.

The Dems better hope not. The main news from the Comey questioning was about Loretta Lynch's interference in the Hillary "matter".

Browndog said...

Marie said...

Bob Ellison,

President Trump's letter firing Comey says it is upon recommendation by both the AG and Deputy AG that Comey is terminated.


Rosenstein's letter of recommendation was attached to Trump's letter. It's not a matter of what Trump said, or didn't say.

Virtually Unknown said...

Since we're talking about 1984, the cabinet all licking Trump's a** yesterday on cue was something you see in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq under Saddam, etc. ...

You forgot Obama, Bill Clinton, etc, etc. Are you mad that Democrats who hate Trump were not appointed to his cabinet?

Michael K said...

"they pay the bribes" Excluding Trump of course.

Oh, I'm sure Trump paid some bribes as he was building his empire.

Corruption is the mothers milk of New York City.

Kevin said...

Trump firing Comey bothers me for another reason that I haven't heard stated: Trump was not his immediate superior. Sessions was. If Comey should have been fired, Sessions should have done it. Trump knows hierarchy and how to handle it.

Apologies to Bob. I thought Sessions had recused himself, but now see that he concurred and forwarded the recommendation to Trump.