Opinion: Yet another amazing Trump/Russia coincidence

130403_jeff_sessions_ap_605

“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” (AP photo)

Maybe there really is nothing there.

Maybe the Trump administration is the victim of a remarkable and ongoing series of totally innocent coincidences, from the accidental yet near-perfect alignment of President Trump’s foreign policy with that of Vladimir Putin to Trump’s selection of a campaign manager and national security adviser with troubling Russian ties.

But damn, people.

In the latest twist, we have the revelation that as a U.S. senator and a prominent member of Trump’s campaign, Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice during the course of the campaign. The first occurred in a side conversation at a public event during the Republican National Convention in July; the second came in September, in a private conversation in Sessions’ office.

Yet in his Senate confirmation hearing as attorney general in January, the following exchange took place with Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota:

Franken: “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 did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

In that sworn testimony, Sessions clearly understood that he would be considered a member of the Trump campaign. He also clearly stated that he had had no communications with the Russians in the course of the campaign, a fact that was not and is not true. His spokesperson now explains that Sessions did not mention those meetings because he did not think them relevant because they occurred in the context of his membership on the Senate Armed Services Committee, not in his campaign role.

There are three problems with that explanation.

  1. The first meeting occurred in an event tied to the GOP convention, which was by definition a political campaign setting, not an official action by a member of the Armed Services Committee. Even if it was innocent, it should have been disclosed not concealed.
  2. The Washington Post, which broke the story, contacted all 26 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Of the 20 who responded, all said they had no meetings with the Russian ambassador in the time period in which Sessions had two such meetings.
  3. Claims of communication and perhaps even collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials were already controversial when Sessions testified to the Senate. That’s why he was asked that question in the first place. Given that background, Sessions’ decision to conceal his contacts with Ambassador Kislyak to his fellow senators cannot help but look evasive and perhaps perjurious. It is not up to the witness to decide whether such meetings were relevant, and as a former federal prosecutor Sessions is fully aware of that fact. He would be furious with a witness who had done what he did.

Now, in yet another of these perhaps innocent yet troubling coincidences, Sessions sits as attorney general, the nation’s top law enforcement official, where he is responsible for overseeing the FBI’s criminal investigation into Russian hacking and meddling in our presidential elections. His close ties with the Trump campaign had already made that arrangement untenable, and this latest development has some Democrats demanding his outright resignation.

That’s probably premature at best. However, Session’s recusal from the case and the appointment of an independent, special counsel to oversee the investigation from this point forward are absolutely necessary if the public is to have confidence in its very important conclusions, whatever they prove to be.

Reader Comments 0

1894 comments
Infraredguy
Infraredguy

HUGE Breaking overnight news, Russians and Trump Administration move base of collusion from Waffle House to IHOP, Media and Bookman are incensed, Democrats demand Special Prosecutor and Trump's immediate resignation. more to follow from Dem spokes woman Maxine Waters     

Denise285
Denise285

Former Alabama Governor Donald Siegelman was released from prison in February 2017. He is not allowed to speak to the media. Here is a recap from 4 years ago...

https://youtu.be/a0k1N8Lc2IA

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Denise285


Well,shoot, I'm glad he's out, but I was hoping he and Sessions might end up cellmates.

Peachs
Peachs

“With a majority in Congress, Republicans are opposed to a special bipartisan inquiry into Russian meddling in the election.

We need a grass roots outcry.  The Congress of all places needs to be held politically responsible for this. It is not just the Russians; it is the torn grave yards, the cook in the kitchen being hauled off, no better jobs, or any jobs, no healthcare.  Lies for the sake of lies.  These people do not deserve to be our representatives.  And unless we boot em out and elect real people, not polyester lobbyist, no matter the party, just elect decent people we get what we deserve.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Peachs that's what a lot of people have been saying for the last 8 years

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

What's this?

All the Libbies sleeping in, or has all their lunacy tuckered them out? 

WWYT?
WWYT?

@JohnnyReb  Tired of your mindless BS repeated verbatim from faux news.

omark
omark

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/02/trump-teams-many-many-denials-contacts-russia/98625780/

Forget about Keyser Soze. Who the hell is Sergey Kislyak?

Before Trump’s team had participated in “innocent meetings” with Russian officials, they never happened.

Now that we’ve all moved into the alternative universe, we have to get used to alternative facts. It should be simple. The truth is whatever Donald says it is. It’s odd for us, but North Korea has used a similar system for decades.

Nonetheless, would they please decide what the alternative facts are? Did they have innocent meetings, with the Russians, or did the innocent meetings never occurr at all?

As for who’s Sergey Kislyak, we’ll never know. According to the New York Times, he’s about to blow this Popsicle stand.

“For Mr. Kislyak, Washington is no longer the place it once was. It has become lonely, and he has told associates that he is surprised how people who once sought his company were now trying to stay away.

Poor Sergey. Nobody wants to play with him anymore. The man gives the Republicans the White House, and the Supreme Court, and the GOP acts like they don’t even know him.

Talk about not being respected in the morning.

Don’t feel sorry for him. Putin will find something fun for him to do.

By the way, does anyone know whatever happened to Keyser Soze?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_6560AW1zQ

gotalife
gotalife

Met with russians 20 times.


russia is doing the same thing in other coutries.


England said no to their Brexit.

We should do the same.

Starik
Starik

A&E has a reality show on the jail experience - "60 days in" - Fulton County this week. It's educational.

BB1700
BB1700

"I grew up with my sister and my mother, and that's where I learned to appreciate what women do."


So, if you grew up with your father you wouldn't appreciate what women do?



rimsky
rimsky

@BB1700 Good Q.  What do you think on that subject?

YouLibs
YouLibs

@BB1700


Probably not as much.


What women lack in upper body strength, they more than make up for with resolve to take care of their families and their society.

BB1700
BB1700

@rimsky @BB1700 I learned from my father to respect / appreciate what women do from an early age, he was a great example.

BB1700
BB1700

@YouLibs @BB1700 Ok, to the first part of your comment.


As to the second part, I would add that a majority of men have the resolve to take care of their families and/or society.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@BB1700 @YouLibs


On one hand, I totally agree with you. My dad paid the mortgages for three different women over the course of his life. His mantra was provide, provide, provide. I loved my dad, he was a good person and a bad-ass.


The mothering instinct is the most powerful force in all society IMO.

YouLibs
YouLibs

My dad was a gofer for Werner von Braun. If he was awake, he was hauling liquid oxygen from Mark's Oxygen in Augusta to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. All of my childhood memories of him were of him sleeping between runs.


I grew up with my sister and my mother, and that's where I learned to appreciate what women do.


Women are beginning to make their voices heard. I think they might save our planet.


Hillary should have been elected. We would be headed in a much more thought-out, positive direction.


Blowing up our agreement about how we want to govern ourselves is destructive and will only set us back and make it more difficult to clean up this next mess.


Women are getting tired of this crap.

rimsky
rimsky

@YouLibs That reminds me how I spent most of my child hood and tenage years around mom.  No wonder i can cook.

yogrant
yogrant

Who is colluding with who. It seems to me that the Democrats are trying to tear the country apart to the glee of the Russians. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@yogrant

It seems to me that I will replace Lewis Hamilton on the Mercedes F1 racing team.

SWATLG
SWATLG

@yogrant Seems to me the Republicans began the process of party before country before or as soon as  Obama took office...

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@SWATLGirl @yogrant Funny how they forget that part.  They've been trying to make this country in their own image for decades and their approach is do it my way or we tear it all down.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Infraredguy 

Obama slogan

 Obama is still president?

The things I learn on this blog....

Boggles the mind, it do.

Allenman
Allenman

Cabinet Member, like President . . . lies and deception flow like Niagara Falls . . . cannot believe anything they say.

Kamchak
Kamchak

All the years you took from her just by being born.

Pass.

Guilt trip aboard the shame train.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Just sayin'.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

DNC drops Obama slogan from " Hope and change " to just " Hope " Trump offers Republican help, extra paper clips and aspirin along with pads for butt hurt Dems

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@_GodlessHeathen_

I remain shamefully ignorant of a lot of Isbell's work, but I seem to love just about everything I've heard from him so far.


/drive-by

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@Visual_Cortex @_GodlessHeathen_ 

Although Letterman is rightfully credited with giving exposure to alt-country artists like Jason Isbell, Elizabeth Cook, and Sturgill Simpson,  this clip exposes something about his arrogance.  Amanda Shires is an accomplished artist in her own right and The 400 Unit deserved some acknowledgement also.

Jason always gives the musicians supporting him the utmost credit, but Letterman dissed them all at the end of this wonderful performance, and it shows on their faces.

https://youtu.be/3Rjhp5F73ks

Kamchak
Kamchak

Oh dear.

It seems that the Obama administration is prohibiting our boy Philo from posting links.

Wait, what's that you say?

Obama is no longer president?

Never mind.....

There once was a poster named Sinkee....

LOL!

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TBS 

My fave?

Hillary and Parkinson's

Classic Alex Jones.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Kamchak @TBS


Wait, I thought he had never heard of Jones. That's what he said for about the first fifty times Jones was mentioned here.

justaniceguy
justaniceguy

Obama also prohibited him from getting a job and buying a Suburban, apparently.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

...and since I got to thinking about Nicky Hopkins, here he is contributing his inimitable piano to one of the greatest album-openers out there.

(bringing it full circle--the Jayhawks are Ray Davies' backing band on Ray's long-delayed solo lp due out this month.)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMFtkubNF4Q