Special Prosecutor or Commission Called for Russia Probe
The conservative Washington Examiner says that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should have been more forthcoming during his confirmation hearings. His answers were splitting hairs, like when Bill Clinton said, “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” One of the meetings with the Russian Ambassador was during the Republican National Convention, yet he claims, the topic of politics didn’t happen to come up.
Despite the ubiquity of the word these days, Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn’t been proven a liar. A close reading of what Sessions said, what he was asked, and what he did leaves open the possibility that his denials about Russian liaisons were accurate in a narrow sense.
But “accurate in a narrow sense” is another way of saying “incomplete.” Sessions should have been far more forthcoming when asked about contacts with Russia. . .
Containing “enough ambiguity” and being non-prosecutable, however, sets the bar too low for cabinet members, who should aim to be clear in their public statements about a serious issue such as Russia meddling in our elections.
Earlier Examiner reports noted that Republicans thought Sessions should recuse himself from all investigations of Russia, not just those currently proposed.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., reacted by saying. . . “The Attorney General has said he would recuse himself when needed and I trust him to make what he feels is the appropriate decision as to his involvement in any investigation into Russian active measures and the 2016 election.”. . .
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. [said]. . . ” If there is an investigation, he probably shouldn’t be the person leading it.”. . . Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, agreed. . .” he probably should recuse himself.”. . . Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., [said]. . .”I’m kind of leaning toward recusal.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Sessions should both recuse himself from any future investigation into Russia’s interference with and “further clarify” his confirmation testimony “because of how he answered the question.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, issued a statement calling for Sessions to recuse himself. “I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe,” he said.
The Examiner notes that Lindsay Graham had gone further, saying Sessions should have nothing to do with any investigation of Russian ties, and in fact, it may be time for a special prosecutor.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any federal government investigation into the possible links between the Trump administration and Russia.
The South Carolina Republican also said there should be a special prosecutor if there is any evidence of something criminal.
The conservative Washington Times notes that Democrats are demanding that Sessions resign, and even some Republicans are saying we should have a special prosecutor investigate the situation.
“It would be better for the country if he resigns,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.
He also called for an investigation by a special prosecutor, Justice Department inspector general or independent counsel to “assess if agents of [the Russian] government have penetrated to the highest levels of our government.”
Some Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Darrell E. Issa of California, have joined the push for a special prosecutor. But the White House and GOP leadership on Capitol Hill remain steadfastly opposed to unleashing an open-ended investigation of the administration.
Over at Fox News, Tucker Carlson asked Sessions why he didn’t amend his comments to Congress, in light of the firing of Michael Flynn, for basically the same thing.
In an exclusive interview, Tucker Carlson pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions as to why he did not amend his testimony regarding Russia at his confirmation hearing after Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign his national security adviser post over contact with a Russian envoy.
“From that point, February 13th, until now, why did no one from your staff come to you and say… perhaps we should amend our statement to the Senate?” Carlson asked. . .
My recusal was not an admission of any wrongdoing, Sessions said, adding that he would recuse himself if he thought the public or the government would see him as a possibly unfair arbiter in a case.
Also at Fox, Bill O’Reilly said the Russian connection should be studied.
O’Reilly said he agreed with Sessions’ ultimate decision to recuse himself from the investigation, and said FBI Director Jim Comey should bring any evidence in his probe before members of Congress.
“The American people should want to know if there were any secret dealings with the Russians during the campaign,” he said.
The Christian Science Monitor notes that a wide range of experts say more investigation is necessary.
Some lawmakers from both parties are calling for a special prosecutor. . . Others are calling for a broader approach. One idea is an independent, bipartisan commission in the style of the 9/11 Commission. Another is the creation of a temporary investigative select committee within Congress. . . And unlike a special prosecutor, it would be above the appearance of influence by the Justice Department.
“Sessions himself may be implicated in the exact subject matter of what this investigation would entail,” says Kami Chavis, a former assistant US attorney and now director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University School of Law.
“In the interest of transparency, and in order for us to have trust and confidence in that investigation, [the investigation] should happen outside of the Justice Department.”
And, finally, Newsmax notes that Marco Rubio is also very concerned about the investigations, and where they might lead.
“The problem is that this is in regard to Russia and it regards their potential interference, or what I believe is their actual interference, in our election process,” said Rubio. “It is concerning, but I want to make sure we’re fair about this but also that we are clear that we are transparent.
“The American people deserve to know everything. I’m not interested in being part of a witch hunt but I also will not be a part of a cover-up.”
At this point, Donald Trump has said he is behind Sessions, and at this time, that’s all that matters regarding his position.