Democratic leaders are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign following the revelation that he lied under oath during his confirmation hearing. Just hours into this story, Republicans are already trying to save Sessions' job by calling on him to recuse, rather than resign.
The undeserved positive glow from Donald Trump’s address to Congress evaporated quickly when the Justice Department revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had repeated contacts with a Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign.
This bombshell is in direct contradiction to Sessions’ Senate testimony:
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 did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.
Democratic leaders immediately called on Sessions to resign for apparently lying under oath, which could also have far more serious consequences. To illustrate just how grave a situation Sessions finds himself in, even some Republicans have abandoned hope that this will go away, and are instead calling on Sessions to recuse himself from investigations into Trump ties to Russia.
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) was first to take that step:
AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 2, 2017
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) joined the chorus minutes later:
Halperin: Do you think he should recuse himself from this investigation given this now disclosed meeting?
McCarthy: I think you, for the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations, yes.
Halperin: You said you would urge him to recuse himself?
McCarthy: I don’t have all the information in front of me, I don’t want to prejudge, but I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation and there’s no doubt within the investigation. It’s easier.
Halperin: Does that require his recusal, Congressman?
McCarthy: I think it would be easier, from that standpoint, yes.
And while Republicans fight to limit the damage to a recusal and Democratic leaders demand Sessions’ resignation, others are pointing out the far more serious consequences that Sessions faces:
It appears that AG Sessions lied under oath during his regarding prior contacts with Russia. The US AG committed perjury. He must resign.
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) March 2, 2017
— VoteVets (@votevets) March 2, 2017
If WashPost story on sessions is true, not only does there need 2 be an independent prosecutor but sessions must be investigated for perjury
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 2, 2017
The Attorney General of the United State has lied and perjured himself…https://t.co/eTBVFUbob1
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) March 2, 2017
Whatever happens to Sessions, these revelations confirm what Shareblue has been saying all along: There must be a truly independent investigation of Trump and his associates’ ties to, and contacts with, Russia.