Democrats have found their latest ‘fake news’ scandal.
The party is currently engaged in a manufactured outrage and fundraising, claiming Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury during his confirmation hearing when he denied meeting with Russian officials.
However, a review of the transcript from the hearing, as well as the written questions, tells a different story. Sessions answered the questions honestly, and his record on Russia makes their claims laughable.
So, what’s the truth about Sessions’ meeting with Russians, and why is this yet another case of ‘fake news’?
Democrats are seeking Sessions’ resignation, and even prosecution, over claims he twice lied under oath; once in an exchange with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and once in response to a written question from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) denying ever meeting with Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, regarding the 2016 campaign.
While it is true Sessions met with Kislyak twice during that period, a review of the hearing and written questions show it is Democrats, not Sessions, lying about the issue.
Here is the exchange with Franken:
Franken: CNN has just published a story and I’m telling you this about a news story that’s just been published, so I’m not expecting you to know whether or not it’s true or not. But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, “Russian operatives claimed to have compromising 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’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”
Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s 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 Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
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.
Here is the written question from Leahy, and Sessions’ response:
Leahy: 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?
Franken clearly asked about discussions between Trump campaign surrogates and Russian officials regarding campaign matters – and whether Sessions met with any Russian officials in his capacity as a Trump campaign surrogate.
Leahy clearly asked whether Sessions had spoken with any Russian official “about the 2016 election.”
Sessions’ answer to both questions was no.
Even though Sessions had spoken to Kislyak twice, he was still telling the truth.
Sessions first spoke with Kislyak on July 20 at a “Partners In Global Diplomacy” Republican National Convention event held by The Heritage Foundation.
There, he held a brief, informal, conversation with a group of several of the 80 attending ambassadors – hardly the place where one would discuss internal Trump campaign matters.
Sessions then spoke with Kislyak a second time on Sept. 8 in a private meeting in his office.
Their meeting was one of several meetings Sessions held in 2016 with 25 different ambassadors.
Kislyak came to Sessions’ office to discuss a proposed Senate bill providing lethal military aid to Ukraine, not to discuss the Trump campaign.
And according to Sessions, their meeting was “testy.”
Given Sessions’ record on Russia, calling it “testy” would likely be an understatement.
He is the last person Russia would approach to seek more amenable U.S. policies.
No U.S./Russia issue was more inflammatory during the 2016 campaign than proposed U.S. sanctions on Russia over their invasion of Ukraine, and proposed lethal U.S. military aid to Ukraine in response.
Leading the fight against Russia on that issue was Sessions himself, who was also an original co-sponsor of the bill.
That is why Kisylak came to Sessions’ office, why their meeting was brief and confrontational, and therefore, why Democrats are lying.
Sessions demanded the U.S. “punish” Russia over the Ukraine invasion, saying “I believe a systematic effort should be undertaken so that Russia feels pain for this.”
“If you don’t act now to make some sanctions against Russia then why will they believe in the future that we’re going to impose sanctions or do anything aggressive if they move forward to take all of Ukraine, all of Georgia” asked Sessions.
Sessions has even called Russia a serial war criminal.
“The (United Nations) says Ossetia is a part of Georgia, but Russia has basically taken it,” Sessions said in 2014.
“Crimea, according to international law, is a part of Ukraine and Russia has basically annexed it.”
Sessions’ bitter hatred of Russia goes back years.
“The Russians are not reliable. They may not be reliable as a partner in space; they certainly are not reliable in helping to contain the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Sessions thundered from the Senate floor in 2008.
Sessions even warned Putin was a direct, lethal, threat to the United States.
“Russia’s recent actions in Georgia remind us that country, which we once hoped was on a path to greater integration into the global world community, might again be seeking to restore old Soviet ideas of dominance throughout their neighbors and in Eastern Europe, all of which should serve as a motivation to move ahead with the necessary capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies from missile attack, in particular,” Sessions said from the Senate floor.
Russia Insider even reported on Sessions’ appointment to Trump’s campaign team with the headline “Trump Sells Out, Appoints War Machine Lackey to Head Foreign Relations Team.”
The idea Russia would meet with Sessions to plot a more Russian-friendly foreign policy – when they already had friendly communications with Trump insiders Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Michael Flynn – is laughable.
Why would Russia hold a secret campaign strategy meeting with someone who despises them and who is, literally, trying to kill them?
Not only is Jeff Sessions telling the truth, Democrats also owe him an apology for their lies.