Jeff Sessions
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Before we discuss whether or not Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III perjured himself during his Attorney General confirmation hearings, let’s look at what he said about President Bill Clinton perjuring himself in front of a grand jury and what he thought that meant for his fitness to serve as the “chief law-enforcement officer of the land.”


You know, it’s fair to say that the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the land, but it’s also accurate to say that about the Attorney General. The president wears a lot of hats, and he basically relies on his Attorney General and the Department of Justice to enforce the law. The buck ultimately stops with Donald Trump, but it’s more accurate to say that Jeff Sessions is in charge of law enforcement. By his own standard, if he committed perjury in a congressional hearing, “equal justice demands that he forfeit his office.”

So, why don’t we watch a little video of Jeff Sessions lying to Sen. Al Franken during his confirmation hearing.

YouTube Poster

YouTube video

About a minute into that video, Sessions acknowledges that he was a surrogate for Donald Trump during the campaign but claims that he had no communications with the Russians. That wasn’t close to being true.

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.

The ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, is the same guy that Michael Flynn talked to on December 29th about undercutting the sanctions that President Obama imposed against Russia earlier that day. In addition to meeting individually with Kislyak at a Heritage Foundation event in July, Sessions met with him in person in his Senate office on September 8th.

Now that these meetings have been disclosed, Sessions claims that the September meeting had nothing to do with the campaign. That’s important, because if they discussed the campaign, then he lied to Sen. Patrick Leahy in addition to lying to Sen. Al Franken:

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.”

It’s hard to imagine that it will be possible to prove what Sessions and Kislyak discussed in the privacy of Sessions’ senate chambers, but it’s nearly impossible to believe Sessions’ explanation that it was all related to the business of the Armed Services Committee.

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.”

I don’t know if there are big or small coincidences, but it would be some kind of coincidence if the only guy on the Senate Armed Services Committee who was serving as a surrogate to Trump was the only member to meet with the Russian ambassador and it didn’t have anything to do with the campaign.

I need to go back and look at the September 8th timeframe and see how it checks out with stories that were unfolding at the time, as well as things that were suggested in the British dossier.

There is so much smoke here at this point that we’re either looking at a volcano or the shadow of a smoking gun.

Sessions knew what Franken and Leahy were asking and he knew why they were asking it. He lied.

Nancy Pelosi has already demanded that Sessions resign. Sessions issued the following statement professing confusion.


Since he knows perfectly well what the allegation is about (there he is on video tape lying to Sen. Franken), this statement is another bald-faced lie.

Some will defend Sessions saying that he didn’t mean to be misleading and that we should take him at his word. That’s politics, but it’s disgraceful.

There is no way he can be allowed to have anything to do with the investigation over Russian hacking since he is now a prime suspect in collusion.

He’s already a hypocrite since he demanded that Bill Clinton resign for lying under oath and yet he refuses to resign for the exact same crime.

And, think about it. Clinton lied to protect his marriage and himself from embarrassment. Sessions lied because he didn’t want anyone to know that he was working with the Russian ambassador during the height of the Russian leaking operation.

Sessions should resign.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at