Except this is a lot worse
Photo of Jeff Sessions via Flickr user Gage Skidmore (cc)
Jeff Sessions, the freshly-minted attorney general of the United States, has already found himself in some seriously hot water.
According to The Washington Post, Sessions met with a top Russian diplomat in Washington, D.C., twice in 2016. That same diplomat’s interactions with former national security adviser Michael Flynn led to Flynn's firing, according to the Justice Department.
One of the meetings, The Post reported, was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The meeting allegedly happened in September, “at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.”
Where Sessions went wrong, however, was when he categorically denied having any meeting with the Russians during his Senate confirmation hearing.
When asked by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., what he would do if he learned of any evidence that the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government, Sessions replied, “I’m not aware of any of those activities … I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Since news of his unreported meetings broke, both Democrats and Republicans alike have called for Sessions to immediately resign.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN:
"Last night when I read the revelations ... and his decision to mislead Congress without those contacts, I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach. The information reported last night makes it clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Attorney General Sessions cannot possibly lead an investigation ... with these revelations, he may very well become the subject of it."
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement:
“Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. Under penalty of perjury, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, ‘I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.’ We now know that statement is false.”
In an odd twist, it would appear Sessions agrees with Pelosi and Schumer, at least according to what he said in a televised interview in 1999 on C-SPAN, when the Senate was getting ready to vote on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against then-President Bill Clinton over his testimony regarding his sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“I am concerned about a president, under oath, being alleged to have committed perjury,” Sessions said, adding, “There are serious allegations that that occurred. And In America, in the Supreme Court, and the American people believe no one is above the law. The president has gotten himself into this fix that is very serious.”
Calls for an investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election have been ongoing. However, as The Post noted, in his role as attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which would, in turn, oversee any and all investigations.