POLITICS

The Lost Sessions: A Sad Recuse for an Attorney General

The attorney general's job is on the line.
What Happened?
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on March 2 that he would recuse himself from any involvement in investigations into Russian meddling or other campaign matters amid revelations that he'd had at least two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions' decision infuriated Trump, and has put the attorney general's job in a seemingly perpetual state of peril.
Why Did Sessions Recuse Himself?
During his confirmation hearing, Sessions had denied having any contact with Russian officials during the campaign. Although he eventually admitted to the meetings, he claimed they were inconsequential and related to his work as a U.S. senator, not as a representative of the Trump campaign.

More recent reporting has cast doubt on that characterization. In July, a former intelligence official told The Washington Post that intercepted communications between Russian officials indicate Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration."
What Was The Fallout?
Sessions has faced intense criticism since stepping aside. Congressional Democrats have called for him to resign over his erroneous testimony before the Senate. Trump has made it clear that he feels Sessions' recusal decision was "unfair" and has suggested it showed a lack of loyalty to the president.

Sessions' recusal also helped pave the way for his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to pass off the Justice Department's Russia probe to Mueller, the special counsel.

Others have questioned the role Sessions played in Comey's firing. He provided Trump with a legal recommendation for the termination after his recusal.
How Did Trump Respond?
The president hasn't taken it well. He's reportedly been fuming for months because he believes that if Sessions had held firm on the investigation, there never would have been a need for a special counsel to take over the Russian probe.

In July, Trump told The New York Times that he wouldn't have nominated Sessions at all if he'd known that he'd recuse himself. Although it appears that Sessions' job is on the line, White House advisers and other top Republicans have warned Trump that firing the attorney general would bring severe political consequences.
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