During his confirmation hearings for attorney general last month, Jeff Sessions — an Alabama senator at the time — was asked by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken if he would investigate connections between Russian officials and the Donald Trump campaign, in which he was a key surrogate for the candidate.
During his confirmation process, Sessions also wrote a response to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy where he denied having any contacts with Russian officials. Now an explosive Washington Post story rebuts Sessions's responses, saying he met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign — in other words, the future attorney general lied to his Senate colleagues.
Now everyone — including Republicans — is calling for Sessions to recuse himself in the burgeoning investigations into the Trump's campaigns connections to Russia. UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Eastern: Sessions announced he will recuse himself from investigations and denied working with Russians to elect Trump. Officials from Russia, allegedly directed by President Vladimir Putin, worked to sway the election to Trump by spreading false and defamatory stories about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the question is if the Trump campaign was directly involved in a smear campaign carried out by an adverserial foreign nation.
But many have gone further. Hours after the Post story broke, prominent Democratic senators and representatives called for Sessions to resign or face jail time. Here's a sampling:
We need a Justice Department that will give us the facts about Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign. Jeff Sessions should resign.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 2, 2017
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 2, 2017
And we need Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who should have never been confirmed in the first place – to resign. We need it now.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 2, 2017
JUST IN: Senate Minority Leader Schumer says Attorney General Sessions should resign https://t.co/rcnVbkycaN
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 2, 2017
Perjury is a felony and may be punishable by prison for up to five years. pic.twitter.com/Vj2s4Wjri3
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) March 2, 2017
Jeff Sessions must go—add your name if you agree: https://t.co/tAs7F6jZS3
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) March 2, 2017
AG Sessions must publicly explain his misleading testimony to Judic Cmte. If his answers are not satisfactory, I'll call for his resignation
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) March 2, 2017
Jeff Sessions lied under oath about his contacts with a country that's actively trying to undermine our democracy. So yes, he should resign.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) March 2, 2017
Lying about Russia supersedes recusal. AG Jeff Sessions must resign and the American people deserve an independent investigation.
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) March 2, 2017
— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) March 2, 2017
Those of us who opposed Sessions from the beginning saw him for who he was -- a throwback and a liar. Sessions needs to resign, immediately.
— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) March 2, 2017
For the good of the country, Jeff Sessions must resign as Attorney General.
— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBookerOffice) March 2, 2017
Sessions, under oath, misled Congress about his conversations with Russia. He should resign.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) March 2, 2017