The facts are in and you're an idiot. You continue to vote in these 'law and order' assholes and you've managed to turn the greatest country on the planet into a zoo. While the politicians, pharmaceutical CEOs, Big Oil and Wall Street bankers laugh all the way to their offshore bank accounts.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sessions did not disclose meetings with Russian ambassador

Several Republicans also called on Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia inquiries.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN Sessions "should further clarify his testimony." Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said "we need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions."

"Jeff Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him & for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in a statement.

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, in an interview with MSNBC, said Sessions should recuse himself for "the trust of the American people." An aide later said McCarthy was only referring to Sessions' statement that he should recuse himself if there was a conflict.

Meanwhile, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, told CNN's "New Day" that Sessions' testimony in January was "extremely misleading."

The attorney general strongly pushed back against the reports, saying he never discussed campaign-related issues with anyone from Russia.

"I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign," he said in a statement. "I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."

Asked by NBC News Thursday morning if he would recuse himself in investigating any potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian officials, Sessions said he would do so "whenever it's appropriate."

Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia's top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior US government officials.

Russian officials dispute this characterization.

Sessions met with Kislyak twice, in July on the sidelines of the Republican convention, and in September in his office when Sessions was a member of the Senate Armed Services committee.

Sessions was an early Trump backer and regular surrogate for him as a candidate.

The Washington Post first reported on Sessions' meetings with the official.

Leading Democratic lawmakers, including Pelosi and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, called for Sessions to resign after the news broke, with Pelosi characterizing his comments in his confirmation as "apparent perjury."

"The top cop in our country lied under oath to the a people is grounds for him to resign," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "He has proved that he is unqualified and unfit to serve in that position of trust."

Kislyak's potential proximity to Russian spying is one reason why Flynn's interactions with him, and Flynn's failure to disclose what he discussed with Kislyak, raised concerns among intelligence officials.

In his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Sessions was asked about Russia and he responded at the time that he "did not have communications with the Russians."

Sessions' spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said there was nothing "misleading about his answer" to Congress because the Alabama Republican "was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign -- not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee."

"Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German and Russian ambassadors," Isgur Flores said in the statement.

A Justice Department official confirmed the meetings, but said Sessions met with the ambassadors "in his capacity as a senator on the Armed Serviced Committee."

A White House official said: "This is the latest attack against the Trump Administration by partisan Democrats. (Attorney) General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony."

Meanwhile, the Russian government on Thursday said it has never interfered and has no plans to ever interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told journalists when questioned about Sessions.

"Let's say it's not our headache," Peskov said.

In reaction to the report, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, also called for Sessions' resignation.

"There is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission" to investigate potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Cummings said. "It is inconceivable that even after Michael Flynn was fired for concealing his conversations with the Russians that Attorney General Sessions would keep his own conversations for several weeks."

Cummings called Sessions' claim during his confirmation hearing that he did not have communications with the Russians "demonstrably false."

Franken, who asked Sessions about Russia at the confirmation hearing, said in a statement Wednesday night that Session' testimony in January was "misleading at best." Franken said if the reports of Sessions' contacts with Kislyak were true, then he "cannot, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately."

News of Sessions' contacts with Kislyak came as the New York Times reported Wednesday evening that officials under former President Barack Obama had sent information throughout government about potential Russian contact with Trump's associates and interference in the 2016 election. The officials did so, the Times reported, in order to preserve the information after Obama left office.

Regarding the Obama administration efforts, Obama's spokesman Eric Schultz told CNN: "This situation was serious, as is evident by President Obama's call for a review -- and as is evident by the United States response. When the (intelligence community) does that type of comprehensive review, it is standard practice that a significant amount of information would be compiled and documented."

Two days before Trump's inauguration, the State Department sent Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a batch of documents related to Russian attempts to meddle in elections worldwide, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Cardin spokesman Sean Bartlett told CNN that the senator had received the classified documents on request and that they were shared with both Republican and Democratic committee staffers.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions faces scrutiny for alleged third meeting with Russian ambassador
By LATimes

Former FBI Director James B. Comey told senators at a closed-door briefing that the FBI was examining whether Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions had a third, undisclosed discussion with a senior Russian diplomat at a Washington hotel last year.

The information indicated that Sessions may have had a private encounter with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, on the sidelines of a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel on April 27, 2016, when Sessions was a U.S. senator from Alabama, according to an U.S. official familiar with the briefing.

Comey described the unverified intelligence in a classified session shortly after he had told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that he was “aware of facts” about Sessions that he could not discuss in public.

A Justice Department spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, denied that Sessions had spoken to the Russian envoy at the hotel.

“The then-Senator did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” she said in a statement.

The development was the latest to suggest a widening series of investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any nexus between the Trump campaign and authorities in Moscow. A special counsel also is reviewing Comey’s claim that Trump asked him to “let go” of an FBI investigation.

On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee wrote White House Counsel Don McGahn, asking if the White House had any tapes or memos “now or in the past” about Comey’s private conversations with Trump.

“To the extent they exist now,” the committee requested copies by June 23.

After he fired Comey on May 9, Trump tweeted that the ousted FBI chief should be careful in case the White House had secretly taped their conversations.

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey told the Senate committee on Thursday, urging that they be released.

At a brief news conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, Trump promised to say “in the very near future” if the tapes exist. He told reporters they would be “very disappointed when you hear the answer.”

Sessions already has come under fire for failing to publicly disclose two other meetings with Kislyak, the Russian diplomat who has been a pivotal figure in the investigations.

Although he is the nation’s highest law enforcement official, Sessions recused himself on March 2 from any role in those investigations after news reports revealed that he had failed to tell his Senate confirmation hearing about the two other meetings with Kislyak.

His decision to step down reportedly infuriated President Trump, and the two have had such a testy relationship in recent weeks that multiple news reports said Sessions at one point had offered to resign.

On Thursday, the Justice Department said that Sessions had decided to recuse himself because of his role in Trump’s presidential campaign, saying “it was for that reason and that reason only.” It did not mention his meetings with Kislyak.

Sessions has denied any wrongdoing, saying his two meetings with the Russian diplomat — first during an event at the Republican National Convention last July and again at his Senate office in September — were routine given his responsibilities on Capitol Hill.

Trump gave his first major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel and later greeted Kislyak in a VIP receiving line, according to a right-leaning think tank that sponsored the event, the Center for the National Interest.

Sessions and Trump’s son-in-law and presidential advisor, Jared Kushner, also attended the speech, which drew heavy news coverage at the time.

Sessions’ name came up in Comey’s testimony on Thursday when he said that Trump had asked him in the Oval Office on Feb. 14 to drop an FBI investigation of Michael Flynn, who had been forced out the day before as national security advisor for lying about his own conversations with Kislyak.

Comey said he and his senior staff believed that Trump’s comment was “very concerning” but decided not tell Sessions. The FBI is part of the Justice Department that Sessions heads.

Comey said he didn’t feel it necessary to tell Sessions because he expected him to step down from the Russian investigation. He did so two weeks later.

“We were also aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic, ” Comey added Thursday. He described the Mayflower event in the classified session that followed.

“After Mr. Comey’s testimony, more questions remain about Jeff Sessions’ involvement in the Russia investigation that he must answer,” Sen. Kamala Harris, (D-CA), a member of the committee, said Friday. “It’s clear his recusal is not worth the paper it’s written on since he was involved in the firing of the person running the very investigation he’s recused from.”

Several news outlets have previously reported that the FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee were looking at the possibility of a third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak at the Mayflower.
CNN reported that the intelligence derived from a U.S. intercept of Russian communications.

In a statement it released in March, the Center for the National Interest said it invited Kislyak and three other ambassadors, who sat in the front row while Trump said he wanted to explore better relations with Russia.

“I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength only — is possible, absolutely possible,” Trump said. “Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.”

Kislyak and about two dozen others also attended a reception with Trump and Sessions before the speech, the center said. Trump shook hands in a receiving line.

“The line moved quickly and any conversations with Mr. Trump in that setting were inherently brief and could not be private,” the center said, saying that Trump and Kislyak’s conversation “was limited to the polite exchange of pleasantries appropriate on such occasions.”

The statement added that no one at the center was aware of any conversations between Sessions and Kislyak. “We consider it unlikely that anyone could have engaged in a meaningful private conversation without drawing attention from others present.”

Sen. Al Franken, (D-Minn.), said on May 31 that he and other senators had received information that suggested Sessions may have had more substantive meetings with Russian officials, including at the Mayflower event, than previously acknowledged.

He said he and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, had written a private letter to Comey, then FBI director, asking him to investigate.
“It had been characterized one way, but we had some reason to believe that wasn’t the case,” Franken said on MSNBC. “It was described in a way that he could plausibly say, ‘I don’t remember that.’”

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