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Atty. General Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself from Russia-Related Probes

Atty. General Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself from Russia-Related Probes
Bernadine Racoma

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions disqualified himself from current and future investigations regarding the alleged meddling of Russia in the last presidential election where Donald Trump was declared the winner.

Sessions was facing criticisms from several fronts and with the bipartisan pressure increasing, he decided to step aside from the investigations. It was revealed that he spoke at least twice with the ambassador from Russia, which he did not reveal to Congress.

Murky start

This issue is just one of the many that had been hounding President Trump and his cabinet. The closest aides of the U.S. president were jeopardized by the muddy affairs. From being an allegation, there are now intensified calls for the government to conduct a full inquiry on the attempts of Russia to influence the 2016 elections. As a consequence, people are calling for an inquiry if Russia is somehow also involved in the new administration’s policies.

Demand for resignation

Many Democrats demand for Mr. Sessions to resign and even Republican Party members are telling him that he should not have any part in the case’s investigations, since his role on the issue is still not fully explained. Pres. Trump gives his full support to Mr. Sessions, although he did say that the latter could have worded his response in a more accurate manner. He still believed that his way of responding to the question was not deliberate and accused the Democrats of being witch hunters.

Meeting with the Russian ambassador

The attorney general said that there is nothing wrong with meeting Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, whom he met on two occasions last year. It is almost common for government officials to meet several foreign dignitaries who want to gain insights on American policies. However these particular meetings were not revealed by Mr. Sessions to the Senate. The body was then conducting a confirmation hearing. It is compounded by the fact that the meetings happened during the height of the presidential race last year and he was acting as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser at that time.

The issues became questionable as the Trump administration previously issued contradictory explanations about them. The latest revelations led to calls for independent and congressional investigations on the role Russia played in the election, and its effects. Already, related events led to the resignation of another close aide of Mr. Trump, Michael T. Flynn. He resigned last month as national security adviser, as he claimed that he misled the current administration about his and Mr. Kislyak’s contacts.

News groups now liken the situation to what happened to Richard G. Kleindienst, who was the acting attorney general during President Nixon’s second term. When he appeared for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was asked if he has spoken with any person at the White House regarding the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. (ITT) that was involved in an antitrust suit. Mr. Kleindienst denied it several times. He was confirmed as the attorney general only to later plead guilty of not providing Congress with accurate information. The special prosecutor found recorded evidence of Pres. Nixon ordering Kleindienst over the phone to drop the case against ITT, which was a campaign contributor.

During his confirmation, Mr. Sessions told Senator Al Franken, (D-Minnesota) that he did not meet any Russian during the 2016 campaign period.

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