Last month, the Left resisted then–U.S. senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination to lead the Justice Department because, they insinuated, the Alabama Republican was some sort of closet Klansman — never mind that he had helped put an actual Klansman in the Yellowhammer State’s electric chair.
Now, amid allegations of Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election, President Donald J. Trump’s foes would have Americans believe that Attorney General Sessions, a lifelong conservative Republican, actually is some sort of deep-cover Russian mole.
Which is it?
Well, perhaps it’s both: Maybe Jeff Sessions is a KKKGB agent. Watch out, or he’ll burn a hammer and sickle on your lawn.
This, of course, is wacky.
Sessions says that he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on two occasions after Sessions actively had begun supporting Donald J. Trump for president. In answer to a long and winding question that retired comedian and U.S. senator Al Franken (D., Minn.) posed to Sessions during his confirmation hearings in January, Sessions mistakenly said, “I did not have communications with the Russians.” Sessions seemingly replied in reference to his responsibilities as a lawmaker and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not in conjunction with what Franken called “a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”
Sessions might have been more precise if Franken had been less elliptical.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D., Vt.) later asked Sessions in writing, “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?” (Italics added.) Sessions correctly replied: “No.”
Also, as Marc Thiessen details in Monday’s Washington Post, one of Sessions’ two meetings with Kislyak was at an international outreach gathering that the Obama administration organized for some 80 diplomats during last July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. This is hardly the sort of late-night, clandestine rendezvous of which liberals fantasize.
Meanwhile, before they throw stones at Sessions, Democrats should remind themselves that they occupy a glass house filled with government records, cameras, and social-media posts.
Democrats should remind themselves that they occupy a glass house filled with government records, cameras, and social-media posts.
As it turns out, Ambassador Kislyak met with staff members at the White House at least 22 times between 2009 and 2016, the Daily Caller reported Thursday, citing official visitor logs. That would have given Obamaites many opportunities to slip microfilm to the Russian diplomat.
If Sessions’ memory failed him, his deficiency seems to be contagious. Several other Democratic lawmakers huddled with Kislyak and subsequently suffered amnesia about it.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California claimed never to have met with Kislyak. “Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” Pelosi told Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer.
Not so fast, Nancy.
A photo soon emerged of Pelosi meeting with Kislyak, as well as Russia’s then president, Dmitri Medvedev. House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Representative Mac Thornberry (R., Texas) also appear in the picture of this June 2010 sitdown.
“She has never had a private one-on-one with him,” Pelosi flack Drew Hammill explained. Well, then, Pelosi should have said so in the first place, rather than stumble into a public inaccuracy — much as Sessions did.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) also issued a blanket statement that she never met with Kislyak. Via Twitter, she claimed: “No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever.”
McCaskill’s own Twitter account finds her boasting about seeing Kislyak.
“Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador,” McCaskill bragged in January 2013. She then patted herself on the back in August 2015: “Today calls with British, Russian, and German Ambassadors re: Iran deal. #doingmyhomework.”
Kislyak met with lots of Senate Democrats, including Washington’s Maria Cantwell, Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York, who demanded Sessions’ resignation, went even further. He met with Kislyak’s boss, Russian president Vladimir Putin, as March 2003 footage from NBC News confirms.
Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta scored $170,000 last year to lobby on behalf of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia. As the Daily Caller discovered, Podesta supported Sberbank’s efforts to lift U.S. economic sanctions against Moscow, which Washington imposed after Putin invaded Crimea in 2014. Tony Podesta is the brother of John Podesta, Obama’s former counselor to the president and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s doomed 2016 presidential campaign.
Also, forgotten amid all of this: As Peter Schweizer details in Clinton Cash, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton authorized a transaction that allowed the Kremlin to gain control of 20 percent of America’s uranium-ore supply. To grease this deal, wealthy investors in a company called Uranium One donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. If Sessions is to be dragged across the coals for meeting twice with Kislyak, when will the Clintons face the balalaikas for their uranium-for-bribes swap with Mother Russia?
Democrats come to the Sessions/Kislyak story with filthy hands and shabby memories.
So, in short, Democrats come to the Sessions/Kislyak story with filthy hands and shabby memories. They condemn Sessions for what they themselves do. And, even more inexcusably, they attack him for the very meetings that they know damn well help senators understand U.S. competitors and adversaries. Such contacts and information should help them make better decisions on behalf of the American people. Shame on the Democrats and their puppets in the left-wing media (forgive the redundancy) for slamming Sessions for having done his job.
Congressional investigators should sort through all of these Russian-related questions — from Obama to Clinton to Trump — and report the answers to the American people.
Beyond that, it’s well past time for Washington to end this kindergarten recess and return to what Americans elected Republican majorities last November to deliver: the confirmation of President Trump’s appointees, repeal and replacement of Obamacare, wholesale tax reduction, and the dismantlement of the unelected administrative state and the red tape with which its unaccountable bureaucrats have strangled this economy for decades.