In an effort to see if Jeff Sessions lied under oath when asked about his contacts with Russia, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday asked the FBI director to open a criminal investigation.
The letter was sent to FBI Director James Comey and Channing D. Phillips, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C..
“Efforts by Attorney General Sessions to assert that his testimony was not false or even misleading because he met with the Russian Ambassador in his capacity as a Senator, rather than a campaign representative, appear to be disingenuous at best as the questions put to him did not in any way ask if the meeting was campaign related.”
After the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Sessions had spoken with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in 2016, he is now trying to recuse himself from investigations into potential Russian contacts with President Trump’s campaign.
Sessions lied, not once but twice, when asked if he had came in contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing to be attorney general.
First Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of evidence that Trump campaign associated were in contact with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions said, adding that “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Then Sessions was asked in a written question by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) if he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election before or after Election Day.
To this he responded with a simple “no.”
Sessions has tried to clarify his statements, saying:
“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
But his clarification has caused skepticism with the House Judiciary Committee Democrats.
He stated that he spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as a representative for the Trump campaign.
But what has Democrats questioning his statement is that the Washington Post noted in an article that of the 26 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2016, none of the 20 who responded met with the Russian ambassador last year.
“His efforts to down play the contacts as ordinary business for a Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee also seem questionable given that other Members of the Committee have not indicated that they had similar meetings with the Russians,” they wrote.