Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently disclosed that he had contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States and recused himself from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
His announcement came after a day of rapid-fire developments in a murky affair that has shadowed President Trump, jeopardized his closest aides and intensified pressure for a full inquiry into Moscow’s attempts to influence the election as well as the policies of the new administration.
Yesterday, Sessions released a statement saying “During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for President of the United States. Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”
Sessions’s recusal comes after several top Democrats demanded his resignation and a growing number of Republicans declared that he should not take part in any investigation into the case, given his own still largely unexplained role in it. Mr. Sessions insisted there was nothing nefarious about his two meetings with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, even though he did not disclose them to the Senate during his confirmation hearing and they occurred during the heat of the race between Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Mr. Trump, whom Mr. Sessions was advising on national security.
Mr. Sessions’s meeting came as the nation’s intelligence agencies were concluding that Russia had tried to destabilize the election and help Mr. Trump. Despite the spotlight into potential contacts with Russia, Mr. Sessions’s initial lack of disclosure of the meetings with Mr. Kislyak fed suspicions that it was more than run-of-the-mill diplomacy. NYT
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