WASHINGTON- Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he has recused himself over the investigation into the Trump campaign’s collaboration with Russia.
It was revealed that last year during the presidential campaign, he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak at the same time it’s suspected that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC to weaken Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Sessions met twice with the ambassador, once during the Republican convention in July and again in September.
“For the good of the country, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in regards to Sessions’ meetings.
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee which has jurisdiction over such issues, echoed Schumer’s call and called for further investigations saying “there is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission to investigate this issue.”
The call for an investigation into the matter was bipartisan with Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight Committee saying Sessions should clarify his statements. Many other Republicans have called for Sessions to recuse himself prior to the announcement while nearly Democrats had gone further and called for Sessions to resign.
Democrats now are calling for an independent commission into the matter.
Sessions’ announcement of his recusal was notable for the fact that earlier in the day both Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Sessions would not need to recuse himself.
It’s likely that Sessions perjured himself during his Senate confirmation hearing when asked by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked whether he was in contact with anyone in the Russian government about the campaign and he denied it.
Sessions was a Republican Senator from Alabama for 20 years prior to his appointment as Attorney General under Trump. He was a close advisor to Trump during the campaign, having been one of the first Senators to endorse him.
He has held extremely conservative positions throughout his political career. He opposes gay marriage, drug reform, immigration, and the separation of church and state. Sessions is likely eager to reverse many of the legal gains made under the Obama Administration and Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
During his confirmation fight, it became widely publicized that he was passed over for a federal judgeship during the Reagan Administration for allegations of racism. Coretta Scott King wrote a long letter criticizing his record as a U.S. Attorney on civil rights and voting rights.
It has become increasingly clear that the Trump campaign collaborated with the Russian government which sought to influence the presidential election.
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has already resigned for lying to Vice President Mike Pence in regards to his conversations with Kislyak. Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned over ties to Russia.
The more evidence that comes out regarding Sessions’ conversation with Kislyak, the more Congressional Republicans will be unable to ignore the writing on the wall and maintain unity. The Russian scandal is also likely to bog down the overall Republican agenda with many arch-conservatives unwilling to sign on anything that more moderates concerned about losing election will push.