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Jeff Sessions Failed To Disclose Contacts With Russian Officials

Jeff Sessions

Late yesterday, The Washington Post reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met several times in 2016 with the Russian Ambassador to the United States in 2016 despite testifying under oath during his confirmation hearings that he had no contact with Russian officials:

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general.

One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.

The previously undisclosed discussions could fuel new congressional calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself.

When Sessions spoke with Kislyak in July and September, the senator was a senior member of the influential Armed Services Committee as well as one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers. Sessions played a prominent role supporting Trump on the stump after formally joining the campaign in February 2016.

At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

Officials said Sessions did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers’ questions and did not remember in detail what he discussed with Kislyak.

“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, Sessions’s spokeswoman.

In January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote.

Sessions responded with one word: “No.”

In a statement issued Wednesday night, Sessions said he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Justice officials said Sessions met with Kislyak on Sept. 8 in his capacity as a member of the armed services panel rather than in his role as a Trump campaign surrogate.

“He 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,” Flores said.

She added that Sessions last year had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian and German ambassadors, in addition to Kislyak.

In the case of the September meeting, one department official who came to the defense of the attorney general said, “There’s just not strong recollection of what was said.”

The Russian ambassador did not respond to requests for comment about his contacts with Sessions.

The Washington Post contacted all 26 members of the 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee to see whether any lawmakers besides Sessions met with Kislyak in 2016. Of the 20 lawmakers who responded, every senator, including Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), said they did not meet with the Russian ambassador last year. The other lawmakers on the panel did not respond as of Wednesday evening.

“Members of the committee have not been beating a path to Kislyak’s door,” a senior Senate Armed Services Committee staffer said, citing tensions in relations with Moscow. Besides Sessions, the staffer added, “There haven’t been a ton of members who are looking to meet with Kislyak for their committee duties.”

Last month, The Post reported that Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions with Kislyak during the month before Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, and other top Trump officials. Flynn was forced to resign the following week.

When asked to comment on Sessions’s contacts with Kislyak, Franken said in a statement to The Post on Wednesday: “If it’s true that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador in the midst of the campaign, then I am very troubled that his response to my questioning during his confirmation hearing was, at best, misleading.”

Franken added: “It is now clearer than ever that the attorney general 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.”

The September meeting wasn’t the only time that Sessions met with Kislyak:

Two months before the September meeting, Sessions attended a Heritage Foundation event in July on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention that was attended by about 50 ambassadors. When the event was over, a small group of ambassadors approached Sessions as he was leaving the podium, and Kislyak was among them, the Justice Department official said.

Sessions then spoke individually to some of the ambassadors, including Kislyak, the official said. In the informal exchanges, the ambassadors expressed appreciation for his remarks and some of them invited him to events they were sponsoring, said the official, citing a former Sessions staffer who was at the event.

Here’s the video of Sessions confirmation hearing testimony in which contacts with Russia were discussed:

The reaction to the revelations about Sessions has been swift and immediate, with Democrats calling for Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing Justice Department investigation of Russian interference in the election and contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, with several calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the matter. Other Democrats have already called for Sessions to resign, although it seems far too early to even discuss that possibility. As of this morning, several Republicans, including Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz have joined Democrats in saying that he should recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation. For his part, Sessions said in a statement last night, and again this morning, that he was only meeting with Kislyak in his capacity as a Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as a representative of or surrogate for the Trump campaign. Given the fact that both of these meetings occurred during the height of the campaign, that one of them took place in Cleveland while the Republican National Convention was taking place, and that Sessions was apparently the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to meet with the Russian Ambassador during the entirety of 2016, one can judge the veracity of that statement for oneself.

This incident obviously brings up questions of whether or not Sessions committed perjury, and while the fact that he answered the way he did under oath the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. With respect to his written response to the question by Senator Leahy, for example, Sessions was specifically asked whether or not he met with Russian officials to discuss issues related to the campaign. In response, he answered with a simple “No.,” and if it is the case that his meetings with Kislyak were not about the campaign then there was no perjury with respect to that question since the Leahy question specifically limited itself in scope. Had Leahy asked him about any meetings with Russian officials for any purpose and Sessions had responded the same way, then it would be a clear lie under oath and something that would merit potential investigation for perjury. The response to the question from Senator Franken is somewhat different. Franken asked a question about Russian contact with the Trump campaign and how he would act if it became clear that there were indeed contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rather than directly answering that question, Sessions said that he was unaware of any such contact and volunteered that he did not have contact with Russian officials. In this response, he didn’t qualify his response to say that he didn’t have contact as a Trump surrogate or that he didn’t discuss the campaign, he said that he no contact. Whether or not this constitutes perjury, though, is a different matter. Proving such a charge beyond a reasonable doubt would involve somehow proving what the content of the conversations between Sessions and Kislyak actually were and proving that Sessions was intentionally withheld the information about these meetings in his responses. As I note, that’s essentially impossible with respect to the Leahy question since it was so limited in scope and at the very least would be highly difficult with respect to his response to the Franken question since it essentially comes down to trying to determine what Sessions understood the question to be asking and what his intent was in answering the way he did. Ideally, of course, Sessions should have disclosed the two meetings even if they weren’t about the campaign. The fact that he didn’t, though, may not be as legally problematic as it appears on the surface. Absent additional evidence, though, it seems unlikely to me that Sessions would ever actually be charged with perjury.

Even if there is nothing criminal going on here, of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be political repercussions from the fact that Sessions failed to disclose his meetings with the Russian Ambassador. At worst, what Sessions did was commit perjury. At best, his responses were misleading and incomplete and look like the same playing with words that Republicans accused President Clinton of engaging in misleading wordplay in his responses to questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, responses that led them to take the extraordinary step of impeaching him and putting him on trial in the Senate. At the very least this means that he needs to recuse himself from any investigation into the entire scope of the issues surrounding Russia and the 2016 Presidential campaign, whether that means handing responsibility and decision-making off to career prosecutors in the Department of Justice or appointing an independent outsider to lead the investigation as was last done during the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak during the George W. Bush Administration. Additionally, as The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza points out, it seems clear from these latest revelations that Republicans on Capitol Hill would be taking a big political risk if they failed to investigate the matter themselves:

It does not take a political genius to understand how big a problem this is for Sessions, Trump and congressional Republicans more broadly. (Sessions’s response — I talked to a lot people! — isn’t going to cut it.)

Before this report, most congressional Republicans were resistant to the idea of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the contacts between Russia and Trump campaign officials and surrogates — insisting that the ongoing FBI investigation and congressional committees looking into the issue were more than enough.

That’s going to become an untenable position for Republicans — starting with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — in light of this new information about Sessions. Not only is there a very serious question about whether Sessions misled — purposely or accidentally — his colleagues while under oath, but this is only the latest incident involving unanswered questions about the ties among Trump, his top advisers and Russia.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn lost his job last month after lying to Vice President Pence — and lots of other people — about the nature of his conversations with Kisylak. Trump has repeatedly refused to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin while insisting that stories about his ties to Russia are “fake news.”

In short: Where there’s smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke, most reasonable people will assume there is fire — or that there should be an independent investigation to determine whether there is fire. Arguing that “there’s nothing to see here” is simply not a tenable position for Republicans at this point.

As I’ve already noted, some Republicans have already recognized these facts, and I expect others will as the day and the rest of the week unfolds.

One other thing that is clear is that, once again, the Trump Administration has managed to ruin a news cycle for itself. For the most part, Trump was getting positive reviews for his speech on Tuesday night and it looked like he was headed for what would have otherwise been the first good week the Administration has had since Inauguration Day. With this story, we’re basically guaranteed that this, and ther aspects of the story regarding Russian interference in the election, will be what dominates the news cycle for the rest of the week, and the calls for Sessions to recuse himself will only increase.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Alameda says:

    Well, there goes the ‘honeymoon’ following the first coherent address by Trump since the convention.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    AG Sessions needs to Lawyer the f**k up. . . . . . . . . . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. Argon says:

    “Inconceivable!”

    “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    The good thing with his appointment is that Elizabeth Warren (or any other woman in the Senate) may now persist in denigrating Sessions verbally.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  4. Kev says:

    “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote.

    Sessions responded with one word: “No.”

    About the 2016 election. Not just if he had any contacts, but if he had any contacts about the 2016 election.

    The National Laughingstock acts like it’s a contraction that he did have two fleeting contacts with the Russian Ambassador — apparently not noticing (or hoping the reader doesn’t notice) that it’s not any and all contacts that were asked about, but contacts specifically about the 2016 election.

    The National Laughingstock of course has no evidence of what the conversations was about. So there is no contradiction at all.

    Now, in the oral hearings, Al Franken did ask a question about other Trump staff’s contacts with the Russians. He based this on a breaking Cable Laughingstock News report. His question was convoluted, and was about Trump staffers being in “constant” contact with Russians and “exchanges of information” about the campaign between them.

    Sessions answered this question thus:

    “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
    Note that the National Laughingstock does not quote Franken’s full question which prompted this response — because if they did, you’d see how convoluted it was, and how he was imprecise about what he was asking about.

    I’ll do the work that the National Laughingstock did not do and provide the transcript of the question, so you can see just how unsure Sessions would be about precisely what he was being asked about.

    Franken’s question went like this:

    … (question already in progress) … “but CNN just published a story, alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week [The Pee-Pee Gate Documents– ace] that included information that quote “Russian operatives claimed to have comproming personal and financial information about Mr. Trump. These documents also allegedly say quote “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Again I’m telling you this is just coming out so, you know… but, if it’s true it’s obviously extremely serious. And if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russians in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”
    Note that Franken’s question is not “did you personally have any contact with the Russians?” If it had been, and Sessions said no to that, it might be considered perjury.

    That’s not his question. His question, after this long pre-amble and references to Trumpian Sprinkle Parties in Moscow and allegations of “continuing exchanges of information” about the campaign is, if information about that comes to light, “What will you do?”

    That is the question. Not if Sessions had any contact with the Russians. Just “What would you do?” if the Trump Water Sports League documents prove to be true.

    Sessions’ answer to that is obviously not talking about his own contacts — it’s about these outlandish allegations Franken is referencing.

    So when Sessions says,

    I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
    he’s referring to the claims Franken is making, and in context, “I did not have communications with the Russians” is about Franken’s claims of “constant exchanges of information” — and, as the questionnaire specified, about the 2016 campaign.

    It was a surprise question, and Sessions offered a hasty “Jeese, I have no idea what you’re talking about here” response. And from that, the Democrat-Media Party is now claiming “conscious, premeditated perjury.”

    Yeah, go fuck yourselves silly.

    Wait, you already did.

    Two videos below.

    1. In the first video below, you will see Al Franken frequently refer to the “questionnaire” that Sessions answered. This was the written questionnaire noted above. The first video is not about Russian contacts — it’s about Franken’s insistence that Sessions didn’t file as many anti-descrimination lawsuits as he has previously claimed, and that his work on the cases he did file was not as extensive as he claimed — but you keep hearing him refer to the “questionnaire.”

    Let me suggest this context: Sessions, frequently asked specifically about the questionnaire, would naturally take questions even when the quetionnaire was not specifically mentioned as being further questions about the questionnaire.

    And the questionnaire, on this point, spoke of contact with the Russians “about the campaign.

    2. The second video shows Franken’s actual question about Russian contact. Note that even in this question, Franken begins by offering up the context of CNN’s then-breaking breathless report of “frequent communications” between Trump staff and the Russians with “exchange of information” between them.

    That is the context of Franken’s actual question — a one minute recap of CNN’s discredited claims. Claims which specifically included “exchanges of information” about the campaign.

    And that’s the actual question Sessions is answering.

    I would say that in context, Sessions would quite reasonably think Franken is asking him if he had “exchanges of information” about the campaign.

    Even the end of his answer — “and I’m unable to comment on that,” because, of course, Franken is asking about communications between third parties and fourth parties Sessions has no idea about — indicates that he understood the question this way.

    He’s saying, in essence: I don’t know about the litany of claims you just read to me, but I haven’t had any communications of the sort you just described to me.

    Or, in plainer terms: “Brah, I don’t know what in the hell you are even talking about. Fuck, dude. Come up for air once in a while.”

    The media, which has been described as having an almost autistic level of literalness in its parsing of Trump’s comments, seems to be doing the same thing to Sessions here, ignoring the actual context of the questions and what Franken was actually implying and asking about.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 59

  5. Eric Florack says:
  6. MarkedMan says:

    Doug, your analysis is sound, but (don’t you hate it when someone throughs in that “but”?) you are dancing around the elephant in the room. Isn’t the most important question here “Why was Jeff Sessions and so many other Trump officials meeting with Russians?” And, “Why is Trump so bizarrely positive about Russia, giving it a pass on everything and constantly praising Vladimir Putin?” Which of course brings us back to “If Trump and his cronies refuse to disclose, and his party leaders refuse to investigate, shouldn’t the assumption be their is something to hide?”

    It seems you can’t bring yourself to say it, but just as the courts assume the refusal to take a breathalyzer test is de facto evidence of DUI, shouldn’t we assume that Trump and the other Republicans efforts to cover this up is proof of traitorous intent? After all, if they were innocent, wouldn’t they be more than anxious to show that?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 1

  7. panda says:

    @Kev: So, when Bill Clinton met Loretta Lynch to discuss their grandchildren (as both claim), were you upset that the National Laughing Stock made a big deal out of it?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 0

  8. panda says:

    @Eric Florack: Why yes, she made an ass out of herself. Very embarassing. But
    – The meetings in question happened 4 years ago, not 3 months ago.
    – She wasn’t answering a question under oath.
    – Most importantly, the meeting didn’t took place in the context of McCaskill being the single most important figure, after the candidate, of a campaign that was receiving assists from Russian illegal activities. If Sessions knew about the Russian hacking (and he did), and the Russians knew he did know (and they did), the very fact he conversed with the Russian ambassador is scandalous, as its a signal that the Trump campaign has no problem with Russian actions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 1

  9. Lit3Bolt says:

    that one of them took place in Cleveland while the Republican National Convention was taking place,

    So Sessions was appointed Trump’s National Security Adviser March 3rd, 2016.

    Later Sessions meets with Russian Ambassador during the Republican National Convention.

    Mid-July, the Trump campaign, in a national security council platform meeting in Cleveland, reverses the Republican Party’s platform regarding the Ukraine and Russian aggression.

    In September, Sessions meets with Russian ambassador.

    In October, WIkileaks sits on John Podesta’s e-mails, hacked in April of 2016. As soon as Access Hollywood tape leaks, Wikileaks dumps e-mails within the hour.

    On October 10th, Sessions defends Trump’s “grab pussy” remarks.

    On October 13th, Brietbart exclusive with Jeff Sessions on Hillary Clinton and Wikileaks: “Smoking gun.”

    On January 10th, Sessions pleads ignorance about Russian hacking efforts.

    Here’s a full WaPo timeline of Session’s remarks regarding Russia.

    Carter Page is also tied to Jeff Sessions.

    The curious saga of Carter Page.

    But I’m sure there is an innocuous reason to lie about meeting with the Russian ambassador, and we should be deeply concerned about the unelected “Deep State” opposing our duly elected President, Donald Trump.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  10. Pch101 says:

    @panda:

    Kev copied and pasted that.

    Kev has a habit of doing that. He should be banned for plagiarism and spamming.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  11. Kylopod says:

    Doug, Steven, James. etc…..

    You know we put up with a lot on these forums, including plenty of useless trolls. But spamming us with large chunks of text plagiarized from other websites, as “Kev” here (and a few other screen names that almost certainly belong to the same commenter) has been doing regularly over the past few weeks, really crosses the line. Are you planning to do something about it?

    It’s like this twerp is trying to make Bill, Jack, Guarneri, etc., look good by comparison.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  12. MarkedMan says:

    And just to be clear, Sessions is on record as stating both “I don’t recall what the conversations were about” and “They weren’t about the election.” (Those are paraphrased, not quoted.) Only one of these things, at most, can be true. Given the Republican cover up, I think it is pretty safe to assume they are both false.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  13. MarkedMan says:

    And just to be clear, Sessions is on record as stating both “I don’t recall what the conversations were about” and “They weren’t about the election.” Only one of these things, at most, can be true. Given the Republican cover up, I think it is pretty safe to assume they are both false.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  14. JohnMcC says:

    Wow! The Trumpkins are driven to some amazing feats of TL:DR stuff. If the earlier version (remember ‘Ryan’?) had known how to use paragraphs I’d think he’s revisited us but forgotten his handle.

    Which is not to honor Kev with a reply. Please don’t feed it.

    In actual information: I see that the other members of the Armed Service Committee (20 of the 26) deny meeting with ambassadors as part of that assignment. Even the Chair (Sen McCain) denies this. There has been a very quick culling of the Sessions senatorial websites but I think that as Senator, Mr Sessions most recently chaired the Strategic Forces subcommittee (from the DefenseNews of Jan 15) – so he had responsibility for nuclear issues. Sen Cruz (also on Military Affairs) has stood alone I gather to say that he has met with ambassadors (but NO RUSSIANS!). He has 3 subcommittee assignments one of which is Strategic Forces.

    Hummm….. wonder why the Strategic Forces subcommittee members (if they are Republicans) in particular feel the need to participate in military diplomacy, eh?

    Whatever! I’ve already called my Congress-critter and both Senators with the firmest angry-old-grampa voice I can muster to demand that representatives of me will immediately call for the resignation of this scumbag hypocrite and an investigation whose results are publicly available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  15. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It seems you can’t bring yourself to say it, but just as the courts assume the refusal to take a breathalyzer test is de facto evidence of DUI, shouldn’t we assume that Trump and the other Republicans efforts to cover this up is proof of traitorous intent?

    Not necessarily “traitorous” but most definitely “systemic”. One could even make the case for “conspiratorial” but “traitorous” is a loaded word in our legal lexicon.

    Still I agree, there’s more then enough smoke to conclude the damn town is on fire so the persistence in not investigating is damning in and of itself. At this point, not taking it as tacit admission of guilt is a sign of willful blindness…. or collusion. It’s only going to get worse so you’d think Republicans would be trying to distance themselves from the coming sh^tstorm.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  16. dmichael says:

    So we have a current Attorney General who during the campaign acted as a surrogate for Trump and met with representatives of Russia. When asked under oath about contacts with Russians during his confirmation hearing, he said: “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” He now says he doesn’t remember what he discussed and so offers this: “Officials said Sessions did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers’ questions and did not remember in detail what he discussed with Kislyak.”
    Sorry, that doesn’t work. You can try to parse this as much as possible and it might work as a defense to a perjury charge, but it is undeniably false and misleading. By the way, one of the meetings he had was in Cleveland during the Republican convention. If one of our intelligence agencies were able to intercept the communication with Kislyak, I expect it to leak.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  17. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve met with lots of people, discussed something, have no recollection of what it was about, but know that it was not about committing treason — I would remember that.

    Sessions two statements are not necessarily in conflict.

    That said, wouldn’t a Senator keep notes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. dmhlt says:

    Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Last Appearance Before a Senate Committee:

    “Sen. Franken, 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, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

    AG Sessions NEXT Appearance Before a Senate Committee:

    “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘communications’ is.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  19. dmichael says:

    As a postscript to my comment, Vox has a good video summary of the three threads of this scandal: http://wp.me/p6sb6-peT.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. wr says:

    @Kev: Hey Loser — When you’re cutting and pasting from bigger right wing losers and pretending it’s your own work, it’s a good idea to take out parentheticals where the actual author identifies himself and references to videos below which you are unable to attach here.

    Nice to see Republicans standing up for the true American virtues: perjury and plagiarism.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  21. michael reynolds says:

    Paul Ryan is as we speak giving a press conference full of lies, pretending that there is ‘no reason’ for Sessions to recuse himself from investigating his own party’s crimes.

    This Russian conspiracy goes deeper than just Trump and his creep of an AG. This is now the Republican Party deliberately lying to the American people to cover up for the subversion of American democracy by a hostile foreign power. I don’t care what the legal definition is, this is treason. It is treason.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 2

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Lit3Bolt: The true mystery is how you managed to embed that many links in your post without awakening the spam demons. I encountered them the other day from a mere four links.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    My conspiracy theory? Russia ginned up ISIS terrorism after sanctions were placed.

    http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/russia-militants/

    This had multiple objectives: get rid of dissidents, use them against the West to destabilize, and then bomb them in Syria and proclaim themselves heroes.

    They need Syria’s warm water port. Everything else flows from that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  24. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Kylopod:

    Doug rescued me, and for that I thank him.

    I’ve been hard on Doug in the past, but god damn that all fades away with the current Trump stuff. I just want Americans. Apparently that’s too much to ask from the Republican party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: yh@Gustopher:

    Sessions two statements are not necessarily in conflict.

    If the question had been about something traitorous then I’d take your point. But to say he never discussed the election? Cmon, one of the meetings was during the convention. And he’s positive no mention was made of the election despite the fact that he doesn’t remember what was discussed? That doesn’t pass the most elementary BS test.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. Lit3Bolt says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “I didn’t discuss the election during the Republican National Convention for the 2016 Presidential Campaign with the Russian Ambassador.”

    Yeah, I f’ing dare you to make that statement.

    Sessions is done. Either as a lame duck, constantly recused figurehead, or someone convinces him retirement to Sweet Home Alabama is attractive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. SenyorDave says:

    Just imagine if Barack Obama had taken office and had the same “Russian issues” as Trump has, with an AG having two meetings with Russian officials that he forgot about, an NSA adviser resigning over his contact with Russians, and the president himself gushing praise over a murderous thug like Putin. Anyone care to guess the reactions of senior Republicans in Congress?

    The modern GOP: 100% party over country.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  28. teve tory says:

    OT:

    Two weeks ago, NRKbeta, the tech vertical of the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, published an explainer about a proposed new digital surveillance law in the country. Digital security is a controversial topic, and the conversation around security issues can become heated. But the conversation in the comments of the article was respectful and productive: Commenters shared links to books and other research, asked clarifying questions, and offered constructive feedback. The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment. The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.

    that’s not a bad idea.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  29. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Sessions sells himself as Mr. Law and Order. Mr. Integrity. He is so honorable that McConnell shut Warren up when she impugned his “honor” by reading a letter from Corretta King.
    Apparently his integrity and reverence for the law only applies if you are black or poor.
    This makes, what now, four members of the orange blobs campaign that had direct contact with Russia while they were busy hacking our democracy?
    Stone
    Manafort
    Flynn
    Sessions
    And that doesn’t include tiny hands himself explicitly directing Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
    Drip, drip, drip…
    Imagine if 4 people in the Obama campaign had been found directly communicating with Russia. Mass hysteria for Ryan and those clowns.
    Principles? What principles?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  30. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: He’s a senator meeting with an ambassador — he should have notes, which should be enough to jog his memory. I suspect he is checking them now… ok, no chance of that.

    But, if the topic of the meeting was caviar exports to North Carolina, or whatever, then it is entirely possible that the election did not come up any more than the weather — “your election is a sh.tshow, and the weather is terrible,” “were going to have to agree to disagree, Mr. Ambassador, I find the weather most pleasant.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Remember, too, that Sessions was screaming for a Special Counsel just because Loretta Lynch happened to see Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an airport.
    C’mon Mr. integrity…time to resign.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  32. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  33. Jack says:

    I know, Congress should hold Sessions in Contempt. That will show him. Oh, wait…

    http://www.politico.com/story/2012/06/holder-held-in-contempt-of-congress-077988

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  34. Jack says:

    @SenyorDave:

    The modern GOP: 100% party over country.

    Says a member of the party that sat on their hands during Trumps speech Tuesday when faced with ideas such as:

    American Citizens Come First
    American Jobs
    Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurship
    Freedom to Purchase Insurance across State Lines
    Supporting Law Enforcement
    Supporting Veterans
    Defending Citizens against Terrorism

    Yeah, party over country indeed!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 38

  35. Jack says:

    At least if you’re a sitting Senator and you’re going to try to initiate a witch hunt versus AG Sessions you may want to check your own old tweets first! LOL!

    @Claire McCaskill

    https://i.redd.it/q0cmvi1wy0jy.jpg

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    Nah, no ‘contempt.’ We’re going to run Sessions out of office. Then we may put him in jail.

    The noose is tightening around the Mango Mussolini, Jack. But you just keep telling yourself it’s all just fine. Your president is Putin’s buttboy. Your president took pay-offs from the Chinese. He will never be legitimate, he will never be accepted. He will go down in history as one of our worst presidents. You will be one of the voters responsible for the biggest political scandal in US history.

    You elected a traitor, Jack, so you have to decide: are you one as well?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

  37. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Who is we, you mental midget? You couldn’t run a raccoon out of your attic.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 28

  38. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:
    Brilliant retort, Jack. Brilliant.
    Michael is wounded, I am sure.
    Now you can go back to beating your Mexican “wife”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  39. Jack says:

    Someone remind me again…

    Who sold 20% of US Uranium stockpiles to Russia?

    The New York Times stated “As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”

    The next paragraph in this New York Times piece states “And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”

    The Russians had a butt boy, and it wasn’t Trump.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 26

  40. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: And you can go back to fwcking your cattle…um, you wife. Let’s just simplify and use the term “heifer”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  41. wr says:

    @Jack: Look how desperately “Jack” is spinning, how he constantly tries to shift blame and avoid the subject. He knows how bad this is. And if someone this stupid can figure it out…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  42. Jack says:

    @wr: I see no such thing. Sessions did nothing wrong and liberals/Democrats can go pound sand. Actually, pounding sand may actually accomplish more than your demands that Sessions resign.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  43. EddieInCA(but not today) says:

    @Jack:

    Liberals?

    Jason Chaffetz: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865674653/Chaffetz-calls-for-AG-to-recuse-himself-from-investigations-into-Russian-influence-on-US-election.html

    Rob Portman: http://www.wkyc.com/news/politics/national-politics/rob-portman-says-sessions-should-recuse-himself/418530410

    Susan Collins
    Lindsay Graham
    John McCain
    Raul Labrador
    Darryl Issa
    Barbara Comstock

    The list is getting longer, Jack. These are REPUBLICANS saying it stinks. So I guess they should go pound sand as well.

    Are these people all liberals too?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  44. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We’re going to run Sessions out of office.

    No, you’re not…

    Trump is standing on an aircraft carrier right now in a faux-military outfit yelling out full-throated support for Sessions. How are you going to run him out of office? PFM?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  45. panda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump is standing on an aircraft carrier right now in a faux-military outfit yelling out full-throated support for Sessions. How are you going to run him out of office? PFM?

    Mike Flynn says hi.

    I’m rather more skeptical than Michael regarding odds Sessions is ran out of office, but its not like we don’t have a recent example of a member of the inner circle tossed overboard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  46. nickthap says:

    Why are the most indecipherable comments (like Kev’s) also always the longest and most reactionary? Dude, brevity is the soul of wit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Regarding that drip-drip-drip:

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/politics/trump-jr-lingering-questions-meeting-pro-Russia-group/story?id=45858839

    “Three weeks before election day Donald Trump Jr left the campaign trail and the country to speak at a private dinner in Paris organized by an obscure pro-Russia group that promotes pro-Kremlin foreign policy initiatives and has since nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    “A key organizer of the event later told reporters she flew to Moscow to brief a senior Russian official about the session.”

    As has been said many times since June ’15, this is not normal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. JohnMcC says:

    @nickthap: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” as the Bard said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. SenyorDave says:

    @James Pearce:
    Trump is standing on an aircraft carrier right now in a faux-military outfit yelling out full-throated support for Sessions. How are you going to run him out of office?

    Report: Trump tells reporters he thinks Sessions “probably” testified truthfully about his Russia contacts, per TV pooler

    With an endorsement like that, I’d say that the end is in sight for Sessions. This seems a lot like how it went for Flynn. The question is will the Republicans do the right thing and have a real investigation? My guess is it will only happen if they decide that Trump as POTUS is more of a liability politically for them than Trump gone. Not saying that he would be gone if they have a real investigation since he’s good at having someone else be the bagman, but he could be in big trouble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  50. JohnMcC says:

    @EddieInCA(but not today): OMG it must be my day for cheesy quotations. But the joke used to be that the Birchers core belief was ‘they’re all red but me and thee and I’m not TOO sure of thee.’

    Are we seeing that dog does in fact eat dog?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  51. KM says:

    Now the Kremlin is weighing in, saying all this kerfuffle with Sessions is messing up the “emotional atmosphere” of their attempt to “mend relations”. They want it to stop.

    In other words, stop picking on on our guy when he’s trying to get us the goods. It’s pretty blatant that Russia is heavily interested and invested in getting Washington to be more cozy with them. They’re not even trying to hide their expectations that this Administration will be considerably warmer to them – they know damn well they’ve got friends on the inside and expect things to change in their favor.

    This is blatant influence and the more Trump et al try and down play it, the worse its going to end up for them. Smarter Republicans are starting to back off since they can smell the blood in the water. Eventually it will be them who demand answers, if only to save their own skins from angry constituents.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  52. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    Trump is standing on an aircraft carrier right now in a faux-military outfit

    Shades of Bush. How’d that photo-op turn out for him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  53. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    They are getting desperate…Devin Nunes just threatened the press…

    “That’s the point here. General Flynn was a private American citizen,” Nunes said. “Look, I’m sure some of you are in contact with the Russian embassy, so be careful what you ask for here because if we start getting transcripts of any of you or any other Americans talking to the press, then we can – do you want us to conduct an investigation on you or other Americans because you were talking to the Russian embassy? I just think we need to be careful.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  54. James Pearce says:

    @panda:

    but its not like we don’t have a recent example of a member of the inner circle tossed overboard.

    To me, Flynn’s resignation makes Sessions’ resignation more unlikely.

    Probably should have just joined in the Republican calls for recusal, as I think it’s very likely we’ll get neither a resignation or a recusal now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  55. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:

    Someone remind me again…
    Who sold 20% of US Uranium stockpiles to Russia?

    No one, you stupid fvck.
    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2016/sep/30/donald-trump/nuclear-claim-donald-trump-says-hillary-clinton-ga/
    How do you get thru the day being such an idiot?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  56. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    To me, Flynn’s resignation makes Sessions’ resignation more unlikely.

    Please explain your logic. Do you really think Trump is going to fight it out for this guy just because he had to concede on the last one? That his cussedness is stronger then his need for approval and good ratings? Based off past behavior extending well beyond the last few months, Trump get rid of things personally inconvenient or detrimental. He doesn’t know Sessions and has no reason to be loyal – hell, if anything Trump would consider Sessions’ loyalty to him to be a given and that he shouldn’t embarrass the boss. He’d see it as Sessions’ duty to take one for the team.

    Why do you think this will go any differently then in the past?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  57. MarkedMan says:

    At the time of Franken’s questioning of Sessions, I thought the answer was odd and indicated that there was something nefarious going on, and in that I was right. But I was totally wrong on what I suspected. I thought it odd that Sessions would volunteer that he had no Russian connections without being asked, poof, out of the blue. At the time my guess was that he knew or suspected others in Trump’s camp had been cooped by the Russians and wanted to make it clear from the get go that he hadn’t been involved. It really didn’t occur to me that he was putting a lie out there, under oath, that he didn’t even need to make.

    I guess it’s just another example that the casual lying of Trump and his co-conspirators knows no check or balance. Even a lawyer casually perjured himself for no reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  58. teve tory says:

    Sessions is holding a press conf in 30 mins.

    Probly gonna announce recusal. Lotsa GOP types calling for recusal right now, to try to head off calls for resignation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  59. Scott says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    do you want us to conduct an investigation on you or other Americans because you were talking to the Russian embassy? I just think we need to be careful.”

    If the press was smart (and I have my doubts) I would’ve responded: “Go for it, punk.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  60. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Bush 43 on Putin:

    “I had a contentious relationship with him and I think whoever the president is, is going to find out that Putin will push and push and push until someone stands up to him,”

    More likely Trump will just bend over and grab his ankles for his bro.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  61. nickthap says:

    Nu@Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Looks to me like the pressure is getting to poor Rep. Nunes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. Modulo Myself says:

    Whatever happens, I am not going to be surprised. But Trump might stick with Sessions simply because Sessions knows more but was less involved with whatever happened between Trump and the Russians, if something happened.

    Flynn wasn’t going to squeal because he’s crazy about the Russians. I don’t make Sessions out that way at all. He wants to prosecute black voters and weed dealers like its 1955. He’s not into crazy far-right ideologies that have Putin and Trump leading a battle of Christianity against Islam.

    One of the things I think that happened is that in August the Russians tipped Trump about what Wikileaks was going to drop in October thus compromising him now. If that happens, Sessions was probably on the outside looking in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. Jack says:
  64. Jack says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Senator Pelosi and Senator Warren seen using Russian Dressing on their salads today. Calls of treason and execution soon followed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  65. Gustopher says:

    I just asked my boss if he had “total confidence” in me, and he assured me that he does not, and then assured everyone else that he did not have total confidence in any of them.

    I can now breathe easier knowing that I will not be asked to submit my resignation for at least a new more days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  66. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “How are you going to run him out of office? ”

    Gosh. I don’t know. Let’s ask Attorney General John Mitchell. I bet he has some ideas!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  67. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    Do you really think Trump is going to fight it out for this guy just because he had to concede on the last one?

    Absolutely, for the same reason you don’t pay ransoms to kidnappers or provide helicopters to bank robbers.

    He’s lived a scandal-plagued life, ran a scandal-plagued campaign, and that’s carried over into his first 100 days. For the next 4-8 years, he’s going to be fighting one scandal or another. Why do you think he’d give up so easily?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  68. Pch101 says:

    Pearce:

    Probably should have just joined in the Republican calls for recusal, as I think it’s very likely we’ll get neither a resignation or a recusal now.

    vs. reality:

    “Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Election Inquiry”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/politics/jeff-sessions-russia-trump-investigation-democrats.html

    This is becoming a pattern.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  69. James Pearce says:

    Sessions is recusing himself from the Russian investigations. He has not yet announced his resignation, and it doesn’t appear that he will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  70. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Probably should have just joined in the Republican calls for recusal, as I think it’s very likely we’ll get neither a resignation or a recusal now.”

    Well done. This was posted at 3:15. At 3:17 the NY Times posted that Sessions recused himself from any investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

    Is it possible, despite your eternal smugness, that you are not quite the savant you imagine yourself to be?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  71. dmichael says:

    @KM: While Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the A.G., he is able to act as a block against any “investigation” of the Russian contacts. That is why the Mango Mussolini (thanks Michael!) will try to keep him on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  72. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:
    What does that have to with your claim that anyone sold 20% of our stockpiles of uranium to Russia?
    Here’s a hint…nothing.
    Because no one did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  73. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..wouldn’t a Senator keep notes?

    My ex was in Law School when I met her.
    Never,” she said, “write anything down!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. panda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Probably should have just joined in the Republican calls for recusal, as I think it’s very likely we’ll get neither a resignation or a recusal now.

    BZzzzt. Wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  75. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101: That’s right, PCH. Sessions is not resigning, which is what Congressional Dems wanted.

    He’s recusing himself, which is what Congressional Republicans wanted.

    But I guess the important thing is that you got what you wanted, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  76. Guarneri says:

    LOL

    Whip it good, libs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  77. JohnMcC says:

    @James Pearce: Well, I don’t feel like arguing a hypothetical and in the end who knows? I am fairly compulsive about following this and I don’t see how anybody ‘outside the beltway’ has any actual knowledge about Nathan Bedford Session’s intentions.

    So how are you so sure that he won’t resign? Before the day is over? You hiding under the bed when he has a heart to heart with the Mrs?

    It’s possible to comment here and not be an ass. Even I can sometimes manage it (when my PTSD and ethanol levels are within normal range).

    You should try it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  78. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Eric Florack has problems with comprehending articles that he has read.

    You are actually worse, because you don’t even comprehend your own writings.

    You claimed that Sessions wouldn’t recuse himself and you blamed the Democrats for his failure to recuse himself.

    But he did recuse himself, another indication that your grasp of game theory sucks.

    In any case, I doubt that anyone expected Sessions to resign today, so thanks for your lame strawman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  79. Davebo says:

    Other Democrats have already called for Sessions to resign, although it seems far too early to even discuss that possibility.

    The nation’s most senior law enforcement official is caught red handed having perjured himself in his confirmation hearings and it’s far to early to even discuss resignation?

    What’s it going to take Doug? Finding him in a cheap hotel with a 12 year old boy and Milo Yiannopoulos?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  80. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  81. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    He’s recusing himself to stall resignation.

    What you can’t seem to get through your head is that these people are guilty. They did it. They conspired with the Russians to influence the US election. And Trump is quite clearly under Putin’s thumb. Your ‘analysis’ rests on the notion that they are innocent and being hounded for political reasons. But as usual, you are wrong.

    There is an FBI investigation and Sessions can no longer stop it. There is a Senate investigation. The WaPo and NYT are all over this. And the CIA, NSA, FSB, MI6, Mossad and every other intel agency on earth already know the truth and they are leaking like sieves. See, someone knows what Sessions talked about with the Soviet er, Russian ambassador.

    What did the president know, and when did he know it.

    Tick tock.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  82. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    Why do you think he’d give up so easily?

    Because he doesn’t care. This whole circus has gone to show the entire GOP is willing to sell some percentage of their soul to him simply because he got elected. He’ll find a replacement and move on with his day. He’ll be pissed about the whole thing but that’s par for the course. Come on, it’s not like he picked Sessions personally – it was a recommendation given to him. It’s not going to stop future challenges so it comes down to the simple fact “is this a hill I’m willing to die on”?

    He cares about this only as a reflection on himself. He can and will cut loose Sessions when the cost gets too great to his image (his internal one, not the one you think a President should have). Right now, he’ll tough it out but Trump’s totally the kind to kick someone to the curb to keep (what he thinks are) appearances up. He doesn’t care if he’s scandal-ridden as long as it’s on his terms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  83. panda says:

    @KM:

    Come on, it’s not like he picked Sessions personally – it was a recommendation given to him. It’s not going to stop future challenges so it comes down to the simple fact “is this a hill I’m willing to die on”?

    Nah, that’s wrong. Sessions is not like Tillerson or Priebus, an outsider that Trump picked because why not. He was only Senator to endorse Trump over the primary, and his staff is all over the White House. Bannon is on the record of admiring him, and I think I read that back in November he was give a pick of any job. To the extent there is any coherence to Trumpism, Sessions provides it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  84. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    You are actually worse

    Get it right: I’m the worst.

    @michael reynolds:

    What you can’t seem to get through your head is that these people are guilty.

    No, I get that. I just think it’s very possible that they’re going to get away with it.

    Not because they’re so clever, but because their “supposed antagonists” are so…not. I know that’s unpopular but I want a smarter left, not the dumb, petty, easily distracted one we have now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  85. michael reynolds says:

    @panda:
    Is Jeff’s last name “Trump?” No? Then Donald doesn’t give a f-ck. He never has, he never will, he is pathologically unable to care about anyone who is not himself or an extension of himself. Been telling people this from Day One: Trump is a classic psychopath, all predatory instinct which people mistake for intelligence, and a total inability to feel anything for anyone but himself and an absence of inhibition, which fools mistake for strength.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  86. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    We are 45 days in and so far we “dumb and petty” folks have beaten him in the courts, knocked off his National Security Advisor, broken his AG’s legs, have GOP senators and congresscreatures fleeing their own constituents, and Trump has the worst polls in the history of polling. You need to find a new tune to hum, dude, because never in American political history has any administration been this castrated this early. This is Watergate, but 45 days into Nixon’s first term. Read some history. Show me a more quickly effective opposition ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  87. JohnMcC says:

    James, I look at the news other than the tsunami related to AG Nathan Bedford Sessions. The next big political story is how Speaker Ryan has an O-Care replacement plan that he will not let anyone see who doesn’t already know and approve it. The Freedom Caucus and non-elected Republicans (Heritage Action, etc) have declared that only repeal of Medicaid expansion without any federal subsidies is good enough. Fourteen Million people were covered by Medicare expansion. R-Party Senators in WVa and Ohio are declaring that no repeal of the expansion will pass their House. The Republicans cannot gather a quorum to vote on their CME nominee. Next month these people will need to vote on an extension of the spending limit and a few months later on a federal budget.

    James, I get that Dem’s over-all present a poor show most of the time. But gee whiz, dude, how do you think the Republicans in Peoria feel as they confidently expect ObamaCare to be replaced with a fabulous, inexpensive, all-encompassing health insurance plan. And all those coal-mining jobs to come back. And steel mills to open. And a wonderful tax cut. And a great great border wall.

    Take your pick and only call one party “dumb, petty and easily distracted.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  88. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We are 45 days in and so far we “dumb and petty” folks have beaten him in the courts, knocked off his National Security Advisor, broken his AG’s legs, have GOP senators and congresscreatures fleeing their own constituents, and Trump has the worst polls in the history of polling.

    I dunno, man, I’m sitting over here wondering how you can be so impressed with this stuff…

    A) “dumb and petty” folks have beaten him in the courts — State attorneys suing the feds beat him in the courts. And it appears they only beat the first iteration of the Muslim ban. The next iteration is coming soon, and it will probably be written in a way that it can survive a court challenge. Protests will, of course, have no effect whatsoever.

    B) ” knocked off his National Security Advisor” – Well, Flynn did resign, it’s true, but not sure “we” deserve credit for that. Trump has a new NSA anyway.

    C) “broken his AG’s legs” — Oh, I’m pretty sure we’ll see Sessions’ legs are fine, once he starts kicking down doors to marijuana dispensaries. He’ll have more time to do that kind of thing now that he won’t be “investigating” Trump’s Russian contacts.

    D) have GOP senators and congresscreatures fleeing their own constituents – Yeah, Mike Coffman got caught sneaking out the back door of his little town hall meeting, but it cracks me up how easily thwarted those townhall “protests” actually were. Corey Gardener had a town hall by phone yesterday. It’s not his constituents he’s fleeing from…

    E) Trump has the worst polls in the history of polling – I would expect this to fluctuate…but hey, maybe it is a sign.

    As for this:

    Read some history. Show me a more quickly effective opposition ever.

    As the Allies stormed Normandy, many of them were telling themselves “We’ll be in Berlin by Christmas!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  89. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @James Pearce:

    As for this:

    Read some history. Show me a more quickly effective opposition ever.

    As the Allies stormed Normandy, many of them were telling themselves “We’ll be in Berlin by Christmas!”

    Wait, what?

    Are you positioning yourself and the GOP as the Nazi’s in this scenario???

    1) weird choice

    2) didn’t work out too well for the Germans.

    While you can say that Dems / Liberals are often overly optimistic, I would say that yes, that’s true. We see that as a feature, not bug.

    President Pence.

    I winder if he will last as long as President Agnew Ford

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  90. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Pearce:

    The flaw in your analysis is you assume the Trump admin is competent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  91. James Pearce says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I’m not a Republican. I’m a liberal “independent” which means I’m basically a Democrat. And I’m optimistic too.

    I’m optimistic that the dumb, petty and easily distracted stuff on the left is a phase.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  92. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    BREAKING NEWS: Senator Pelosi and Senator Warren seen using Russian Dressing on their salads today. Calls of treason and execution soon followed.

    Your feed is slow. That was the standard for the previous administration. Orange is not the new black.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  93. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Jack: Give it up. No one sold 20% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia. That has been debunked time and again and yet here you are peddling it again.

    I used to be a Republican. I left the party because of people like you and Donald Trump. Go ahead, lie to yourself, but don’t lie to the rest of us.

    Trump is dirty. And you helped put him where he is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  94. Pch101 says:

    In other news, Mike Pence used AOL email for conducting state business when he was governor of Indiana.

    Oh, and his AOL account got hacked. He addressed to that security breach by, er, opening a second AOL account.

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/03/03/pence-used-private-email-account-as-governor-ac360-sot.cnn

    The administration that keeps on giving…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  95. Pch101 says:

    Pearce may actually be less capable of acknowledging and learning from his mistakes than Donald Trump. Not sure whether “impressed” is quite the word that I would use to describe my reaction to that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  96. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    In other news, Mike Pence used AOL email for conducting state business when he was governor of Indiana.

    LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  97. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @dmichael: “Officials said Sessions did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers’ questions and did not remember in detail what he discussed with Kislyak.”

    If the meeting at his office was in his capacity as a Senator, shouldn’t there be some sort of memo of the meeting in his notes stashed somewhere in the Congressional Archives (or his own personal one) that he could find to show us?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  98. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    No bump from the so-called presidential speech.
    Every day brings more drip,drip, drip.
    Everyday more repubicanists are throwing him under the short-bus.
    I just don’t see how he survives and can be effective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  99. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: And I see you beat me to the question. Alas, I shoulda knowed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  100. Jake says:
  101. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jack:

    Freedom to Purchase Insurance across State Lines

    I keep not understanding why you guys are so het up about buying cut-rate health insurance from companies doing business in states with lax consumer protection laws? Whassup wid dat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  102. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: a few days ago, the Democrats wanted Sessions to recuse himself. Now he has.

    That’s at least a partial success, It may just be that the Democrats are benefitting from self-inflicted wounds, in the administration, but they are at least capitalizing on them.

    This is also all prelude to the budget battles and raising the debt ceiling (now, apparently, a time to demand major concessions). United Democrats, and a Republican Party split over crazy vs. very crazy? There will be a pair of small orange balls in a vice, trying to make a deal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  103. Jake says:
  104. Gustopher says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: aren’t state currently free to form multi state compacts if they want?

    California might not want policies that meet the high standards of Freedom of South Dakota, but North Dakota might.

    If people can’t buy insurance across state lines, it’s because they (or their states) don’t want to. We shouldn’t force them to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  105. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Jack isn’t a big fan of states rights, unless those “rights” involve taking freedom away from blacks, homosexuals and atheists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  106. Jake says:
  107. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Gustopher:
    You also need insurers to create networks in multiple states. As I understand it, insurers are reluctant to go through the effort of creating a network of doctors and hospitals in an region where they will not be able to compete and make a profit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  108. JK Brown says:

    It’s all very terrible, until you remember the time a sitting Democratic Senator approached the Soviet KGB to offer his services, and those of his friends in the media, to undermine the pressure Reagan had brought to bear in exchange for the Soviet help in defeating Reagan.

    Or maybe it was when Obama passed a confidential message to Putin about his ability to “be flexible” after the election.

    If the Russians aided a presidential candidate get elected, then it was the Democrat Obama who benefited back in 2012

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  109. Hal_10000 says:

    Ugh. The good thing about being in Australia right now is that I get to see an entire Russia new cycle play out before I have to comment on it. It would help a lot if we would observe the rule of waiting at least 12 hours to comment on a Trump story so that at least some facts can come out. These instant cries of “treason” are foolish and exhausting the public.

    It is clear that Sessions needs to recuse himself. And he should at least release a written statement about what he talked about with the Russians to clarify if his answers crossed the line into perjury. But we need to be patient with this Russia thing. Let the facts come out, let the investigations proceed. Watergate didn’t happen overnight. Nor will Trump’s downfall, assuming it comes at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  110. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Pearce may actually be less capable

    Grow up, dude.

    @Gustopher:

    United Democrats, and a Republican Party split over crazy vs. very crazy?

    The Dems are anything but united –the DNC chair being the latest intramural rivalry– and the Republicans are, shockingly, “with him.”

    @Hal_10000: Great link and wise words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  111. panda says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    I keep not understanding why you guys are so het up about buying cut-rate health insurance from companies doing business in states with lax consumer protection laws? Whassup wid dat?

    Freedom to buy insurance across state lines is another word for “nullifying states’ right to regulate their own insurance markets,” but states rights are so yesterday.

    Also, little known fact: the ACA allows states to create compacts for regional insurance sales. What “freedom” means is that they will be have to take all comers..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  112. panda says:

    @Hal_10000:

    . And he should at least release a written statement about what he talked about with the Russians to clarify if his answers crossed the line into perjury

    Sure, we should wait for the facts, and so on. But let’s not be naive here: even if Sessions didn’t say anything untoward, the fact that he, the most powerful person in the Trump camp, was talking to the Russian ambassador in the midst of the hacking campaign was a signal that the Trump people don’t mind Russia doing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  113. panda says:

    @James Pearce:

    The Dems are anything but united –the DNC chair being the latest intramural rivalry– and the Republicans are, shockingly, “with him.”

    The Democrats are not very united regarding the future direction of the party, true (but given that the DNC election ended with both sides embracing each other, I wouldn’t make too much of it), but there is no Democrat on this side of Joe Manchin who is not united in derision of Trump.
    Now, which party was out power in 2009, almost torn apart in internal struggles, but united in contempt towards the opposition? What happened to that party?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  114. James Pearce says:

    @panda:

    Now, which party was out power in 2009, almost torn apart in internal struggles, but united in contempt towards the opposition? What happened to that party?

    They got some new blood, made some compromises with their own values, and they took over all levels of the federal government and two-thirds of state governments.

    The Dems aren’t there yet….but maybe they will be? I have some hope –not much– but some.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  115. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    The Dems are anything but united –the DNC chair being the latest intramural rivalry– and the Republicans are, shockingly, “with him.”

    I think what Democrats learned from this election are the following:
    (1) They can win a popular vote and lose the election.
    (2) The ‘they go low, we go high’ strategy does not work because intense partisans do not care if their guy is a despicable moron, no minds are changed.
    (3) So-called “independent” voters make bad political choices in the same proportion as non-independent voters.
    (4) Going all in on political bad behavior – intractable obstruction, government shutdown – if it is properly managed, has no negative political consequences
    (5) There really is no such thing as an enduring ‘Wisdom of The People’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  116. Kylopod says:

    @panda:

    Now, which party was out power in 2009, almost torn apart in internal struggles, but united in contempt towards the opposition? What happened to that party?

    What happened? Well, for one thing, the man who was the focus of their opposition went on to be easily reelected and ended his presidency with high popularity. For another, their pathological RINO-hunting led them to twice pass up the chance to retake the Senate by nominating laughably bad candidates, and then they nominated a presidential candidate who went on to receive millions fewer votes than the least popular candidate the Dems ever nominated.

    Look, I’m not saying the Tea Party didn’t utlize some effective tactics. But they also made many blunders, and they blew or nearly blew several real opportunities. Moreover–and this is a crucial, widely overlooked point–regardless of their electoral prowess, they came into office with no idea how to govern effectively, due in large part to the fact that their entire agenda was constructed around hating on the other side.

    There is certainly a lot to be learned from how they organized and coordinated, but it would be a grave mistake to forget the price they paid for their all-or-nothing attitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  117. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Lit3Bolt: The flaw in yours—is you assume he is incompetent. He’s working by a different model that you don’t understand yet.

    @michael reynolds: The original Travel Ban was a throwaway–a test–the opening phase of “negotiation”. Now that all the energy was expended on the fighting the first–the 2nd will be reformulated and issued. It will make it though the courts and be carried out by the Executive Branch. You’re a smart dude but your’re watching Trump’s gorilla suit instead of the moves on the chess board. The biggest enemy to the Liberals and Democrats now? They’ve hypontized themselves that their adversary is stupid. That assumption, more often than not, leads to defeat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  118. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The original Travel Ban was a throwaway

    Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

    No, it was a failure that demonstrates that the clowns in the administration either don’t know what they’re doing or else don’t have the courage to correct their boss whenever he issues poorly constructed marching orders.

    There was no clever gamesmanship that explains such a conspicuous failure. A few more of those, and even some of Trump’s most diehard supporters will start to move away from him because they’ll think that he’s weak instead of the winner who he claims to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  119. panda says:

    @James Pearce:

    They got some new blood, made some compromises with their own values, and they took over all levels of the federal government and two-thirds of state governments.

    Which compromises they made with their own values? Be specific, please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  120. panda says:

    @Kylopod: Fair enough! I strenously oppose DINO hunts, but a contested election between two very good candidates who agreed beforehand that the loser will be the winners deputy is not exactly “democrats in dissaray.” And as for total resistance: hard to argue it had any downsides to Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  121. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @panda: While I cannot speak to specifics, I would guess that the specifics would relate to the values held by many “I used to be a Republican, but…” people who post on this very site.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  122. al-Alameda says:

    @panda:

    Which compromises they made with their own values? Be specific, please.

    ‘…made some compromises with their own values’ = willing to throw their own Party’s candidates under the bus for a Reality Show star who has; by his own words groped several women, insulted the family of a deceased war hero, insulted a POW now senator, and emasculated every Party candidate on the way to becoming the “compromise their own values” representative of the Republican Party, and now, president of the United States of America.

    Selling out Compromising your values is fun for the entire Republican Party family.

    It worked, they won, and are now in a position to party like it’s 1928 again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  123. Kylopod says:

    @panda:

    And as for total resistance: hard to argue it had any downsides to Republicans.

    Electorally, no. But in terms of getting the policies they wanted, or preventing the policies they didn’t want, it had plenty of downsides. Imagine, for example, that Obamacare had gotten Republican votes. That would almost certainly have involved making compromises with those Republicans and adding stuff like tort reform. (That was part of the point of David Frum’s prescient 2009 article that got him fired from AEI.) Republicans were able to parlay their opposition into big electoral gains in 2010. But what did they get out of it, policy-wise? Six years of meaningless repeal votes? Even now, with full control over government, the future of repeal is looking increasingly bleak, and if they do succeed at eliminating the law they’ll be putting themselves at great electoral risk while also increasing the chances that a single-payer system will be enacted in its place (which is similar to what happened in Australia in the 1970s).

    Never forget: the ultimate goal of politics isn’t simply getting elected, it’s what you do once you get there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  124. James Pearce says:

    @al-Alameda:

    I think what Democrats learned from this election are the following

    I wish there were other lessons Democrats would be wiling to learn, too.

    Like, “Our racialism is undermining our message on racism.” Or, “Some women don’t support our policies.” And yet it appears that the very mention of this stuff is enough to earn one not only rebuke but abuse, too.

    @panda:

    Which compromises they made with their own values?

    Al-Alameda’s comment provided a pretty good answer, but here’s one that he didn’t mention: free trade. Here’s another: the party of anti-Russian hawks elected a “soft on Russia” FP amateur.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  125. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pch101: I can tell my self whatever I want….just like you’re doing.

    I will say this: If I’ve made an inaccurate assessment, and Trump is, as you say, a buffoon. Those of us that oppose Trump but assumed he’s not incompetent simply show up to the fight over prepared. Easy Day.

    If you’re wrong, however, those of you in your camp that oppose Trump are going to get beaten, soundly. Clintons loss was a warning. Which do you think is the more successful side of judgement to err on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  126. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Holy S#it, Batman!

    Looks like Trump changed the GOP’s position on the Ukraine for the GOP convention… after saying he had NOTHING to do with changing the position.

    Now why would he make that kind of random act?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/jd-gordon-trump-adviser-ukraine-rnc-2017-3

    drip, drip, drip…

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/opinion/goodbye-spin-hello-raw-dishonesty.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  127. Pch101 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The mistake that liberals make is to believe that stupidity necessarily leads to failure.

    It is possible for stupid people to succeed, and smart people should not assume that being smarter is enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  128. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pch101: I agree

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  129. I do agree with James Pearce to some point: we’ve been hearing, from some years, that everything is fine in the Democratic Side. We’ve heard that polls showed that Hillary was unbeatable, and then we’ve heard that Trump would do a lot of stupid things and then lose. He in fact did a lot of stupid things, and did not lose.

    I miss an economic message, and I’m seeing the same people that came with Hillary leading the opposition.

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  130. MarkedMan says:

    If we are going to talk about flaws on the Democrats side, let me get my pet peeve out there: believing that you only have to represent the people you agree with. You know what? Bigots are citizens of the country just as much as me. And when they have legitimate concerns, even if I don’t share those concerns to the same extent, as citizens they are entitled to have their concerns addressed. Example: Middle Eastern terrorists are murdering innocent people all over the world in the name of Islam. That’s a fact. And we are taking in refugees from Middle Eastern countries, most of whom are Muslim. That’s also a fact. It is our leader’s responsibilities to make sure those refugees are thoroughly vetted so bad actors don’t piggy back on the program in order to sneak in and do us harm. And it’s our responsibility as average citizens to hold those leaders accountable. That’s just basic common sense.

    So I was very disappointed that all too often the Democratic leaders, including Clinton and Obama, rather than addressing those concerns in detail as many times as it took, gave a few nods to the vetting program and then went off about Islamophobia. It is probably true that many of those that were most vocal were rabid Islamophobes, and that many, many more are kind of lazy Islamophobes. But regardless, they are citizens and deserve to have their concerns addressed. I would have been much happier with a lot more talk about the 18-24 month vetting process and the endless background tests and the fact that those things make this program way too difficult for a terrorist to use. There are other ways to get in, and by the way, we need to be very vigilant about all those other ways too.

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  131. Eric Florack says:
  132. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Did you read it?
    Nothing similar to the purpose of Trump, Sessions, Manafort, Flynn or any of that crew’s interaction with Russians.
    Why are conservatives prone to really poor false equivalence assertions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  133. Jeanie Mcavoy says:

    Sessions: “Senator Franken, 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 didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

    I’m sorry, but Sessions absolutely should be charged with perjury based on that testimony, Why did he add “I’m unable to comment on it”?
    That demonstrated a clear intention to obfuscate, to avoid follow-up questioning, knowing that he did meet with Kislyak and that if he had revealed that, more questions would have followed. That was an intentional, material misrepresentation designed to mislead Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0