The Russia bombshells keep dropping.
Last night, news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearings.1 According to The Washington Post, while serving as an advisor and surrogate for Trumpâ€™s campaign, Sessions spoke twice, including once in private, with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He then denied that those meetings occurred during his confirmation hearings.
It is clear that the Trump campaign, transition team and administration have had very questionable contacts with the Russian government. It is now also clear that the countryâ€™s top law enforcement official has lied about them.
The American people deserve an honest attorney general and an impartial, objective, thorough and independent investigation into all credible allegations concerning the relationship between Donald Trump and the Russian government.
There is no chance that the Trump administration will investigate itself. Republicans in Congress are only offering weak solutions. We need to force Congress to take a bolder stance now.
During Sessionsâ€™ confirmation hearing, Sen. Al Franken asked him about the Trump campaignâ€™s communications with the Russian government. Sessions told Sen. Franken â€śI didnâ€™t have â€“ did not have communication with the Russians.â€ť Sessions responded to a written question from Sen. Patrick Leahy asking whether he had â€śbeen in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election dayâ€ť with a one word â€śNo.â€ť2
Sessions is not even denying his meetings with Kislyak. He is simply claiming they did not discuss the campaign. That is outrageous. Sessions testified before Congress at a time when there was evidence that Russia helped Trump steal the election and that Russia could have unknown influence over Trumpâ€™s administration. Sens. Franken and Leahyâ€™s questions were trying to address that clear threat to our democracy, and Sessions lied. Those lies destroy not only Sessionsâ€™ credibility to investigate Trumpâ€™s ties to Russia but his credibility to serve as attorney general at all. He must resign now.
Bowing to withering pressure, Sessions has now recused himself from any Department of Justice investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election as well as any examination of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Some congressional Republicans are promoting recusal as well. But, recusal is not enough. It still situates the investigation inside Trumpâ€™s compromised, corrupt executive branch. Recent news shows that Obama administration officials were so concerned that Trumpâ€™s team would bury or destroy evidence about Russian election hacking that they went to extraordinary steps to protect and distribute it.3 As threats to the legitimacy of his presidency mounts, Trump will only try harder to cover up his ties to Russia.
There must be a completely independent investigation by a special prosecutor and Senate Select Committee. Democrats in Congress are already demanding this, but Republicans will choose party politics over our democracy unless we force them to act. Can you add your name now?
Republicans who refuse to push for an independent investigation are blocking the publicâ€™s ability to know the answers to a long list of questions about Trumpâ€™s ties with Russia:
- The election: Did Trump campaign officials communicate with Russian government officials during the campaign? Did Putin order Russian cyberattacks on Democratic Party infrastructure? Did the Trump campaign know about the attacks in advance? What was Russiaâ€™s motivation for the attacks?
- The money: What are the financial connections between Trump and Russia? Why wonâ€™t Trump release his tax returns?
- The swamp: Do Trumpâ€™s cabinet members and advisers with deep ties to Russia, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Wilbur Ross, Paul Manafort and Carter Page, have obligations or ties that might pose a conflict of interest?
- The payback: Did Trump administration officials discuss the Obama administrationâ€™s sanctions on Russia with Russian officials before Trump was inaugurated? Did the Trump campaign meddle with the Republican platform on Ukraine?
Every time news breaks about Trump and Russia, congressional Republicans claim to care about an investigation but backtrack when the news dies down.4 That is exactly what some are trying to do now, and theyâ€™ll get away with it if we donâ€™t force them to act. The more people who add their names, the greater the pressure will be.
Tell Congress: Demand that Jeff Sessions resigns and that his successor appoints a special prosecutor who can conduct a real, independent and thorough investigation of Trumpâ€™s ties to Russia. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
Add your name:
- Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, "," The Washington Post, March 1, 2017.
- Matt Ford, "," The Atlantic, March 1, 2017.
- Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman, and Michael Schmidt, "," The New York Times, March 1, 2017.
- Matthew Rozsa, "," Salon, Feb. 28, 2017.