Sessions Scoffs At Senate Committee
Sessions Scoffs At
The highly anticipated appearance of Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee took place on Tuesday. Sadly, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!
In his first appearance before Congress since recusing himself from the Justice Department’s probe into Russian election hacking and since the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Sessions entered the hearing with the perception that he was ready, willing, and able to talk PUBLICLY. Regrettably, that was all smoke and mirrors.
Senators pressed the attorney general on his role in Comey’s firing, on his own involvement in the Trump campaign and on his undisclosed meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US. In response, the attorney general spent the afternoon ducking nearly every question posed to him as if he were in a championship dodgeball competition. Instead, Sessions chose to substitute actual answers by saying he is “not able to comment” or “not able to discuss” certain topics. He also frequently used the excuse that he was citing a “longstanding policy” of the Justice Department, or that he was protecting Donald Trump’s right to later assert executive privilege “if he chooses.”
“I’m not claiming executive privilege because that’s the President’s power,” he was careful to tell Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee.
For example, when asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein if he ever spoke with Donald Trump about Comey’s firing, Sessions cited a Justice Department rule by saying, “I’m not able to discuss or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others.”
He added: “I know how this will be discussed, but that’s the rule that’s been long adhered to by Department of Justice, as you know, Sen. Feinstein.”
Soon, Democrats realized that their former senate colleague had no real intention of actually testifying, but merely conducting a publicity stunt.
During a testy exchange with Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Sessions became angry.
“I am not stonewalling,” he said. “I’m following historic policies of Department of Justice. You don’t walk into any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with the President of United States.”
Still, Democrats refused to let up.
“You said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told Sessions. “Now you’re not answering questions. You are impeding this investigation.”
“I’m not able to invoke executive privilege, that’s the President’s preoperative,” Sessions emphasized. “That’s my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer.”
Your “silence speaks volumes,” added Sen. Heinrich.
Sen. Harris refused to allow Sessions to continue giving non-answers to very succinct questions, causing the attorney general to raise his voice.
“I’m not able to be rushed this fast,” he said. “It makes me nervous.”
To summarize what was actually learned from the Sessions testimony, the answer is clear: absolutely nothing! Unless Donald Trump unwisely attempts to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller, perhaps he can have better success at obtaining real answers.