Thursday, June 1, 2017

Jeff Sessions sinks deeper into KremlinGate quicksand as CNN report surfaces of a possible third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak

Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions' KremlinGate problems grew deeper last night with a CNN report of a possible third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential campaign.

This comes on top of reports that Sessions, during his Senate confirmation hearings as Trump attorney general, failed to disclose two meetings with Kislyak -- and Sessions failed to disclose the meetings on his security-clearance forms.

A former U.S. senator from Alabama and the first major political figure to jump on the Trump train, Sessions already was the focus of Russia-related scrutiny. Last night's report appears to increase the likelihood that Sessions will be at the center of a scandal that threatens to bring down the Trump administration. It also adds to our report last week that Sessions' history of dishonesty and cover ups goes back many years in Alabama. From CNN:

Congressional investigators are examining whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an additional private meeting with Russia's ambassador during the presidential campaign, according to Republican and Democratic Hill sources and intelligence officials briefed on the investigation.

Investigators on the Hill are requesting additional information, including schedules from Sessions, a source with knowledge tells CNN. They are focusing on whether such a meeting took place April 27, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, where then-candidate Donald Trump was delivering his first major foreign policy address. Prior to the speech, then-Sen. Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended a small VIP reception with organizers, diplomats and others.

Congressional investigators aren't the only ones on Sessions' trail:

In addition to congressional investigators, the FBI is seeking to determine the extent of interactions the Trump campaign team may have had with Russia's ambassador during the event as part of its broader counterintelligence investigation of Russian interference in the election. The FBI is looking into whether there was an additional private meeting at the Mayflower the same day, sources said. Neither Hill nor FBI investigators have yet concluded whether a private meeting took place -- and acknowledge that it is possible any additional meeting was incidental.

Sessions' recent history of evasive behavior regarding Russia probably does not help his cause -- and likely invites heightened scrutiny:

Asked at a news conference on March 2 whether there were any other meetings with Russians besides those two, Sessions told reporters, "I don't believe so -- you know, we meet a lot of people -- I don't believe so."

Later that week, when Sessions updated his sworn testimony to the Senate judiciary committee, he acknowledged the two meetings with Kislyak but did not mention any encounter at the Mayflower Hotel.

"I do not recall any discussions with the Russian ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, regarding the political campaign on these occasions or any other occasion," Sessions wrote.

Why could a meeting at the Mayflower Hotel have special significance? Consider the timing:

Russia was already trying to help Trump before the Mayflower Hotel speech, according to a US intelligence community assessment released in January. The report concluded that by March 2016, Kremlin-backed news outlets began supporting Trump and Russian military intelligence had kicked off its election-related cyber operations.

One day before the speech, Trump won commanding primary victories in five Northeast states, cementing his front-runner status and putting him on a track to secure the bitterly contested Republican nomination.

In the speech, Trump stressed his "America first" message and talked about the fight against terrorism. He offered an olive branch to the Kremlin in line with his comments throughout the campaign -- but out of step with much of the US foreign policy establishment and all of his fellow presidential hopefuls.


Anonymous said...

This is the Jeff Sessions we all have "known and loved" in Alabama. What a cretin.

Anonymous said...

I'm throwing a "Jeffy Goes to Jail" party in Mobile when the hammer finally falls on Sessions. Everyone is invited.

Anonymous said...

This is from Seth Abramson's mega-Tweet storm re: Mayflower event:

(5) SESSIONS. He was at the VIP. He perjured himself to Congress by failing to disclose it—then refused to mention it even when caught. Why?

Anonymous said...

Will and other major newspapers in Alabama cover this?

legalschnauzer said...

@9:03 --

I doubt it. Some might publish it as a brief.

Anonymous said...

Jeffy is in the big leagues now, and they are firing 95-mph fastballs under his tiny little chin. Whew!

Anonymous said...

But, when will it be ever revealed/exposed and discussed Sessions ties/monies, as

far back, and before as [Al AG], to premeditated political cover ups with

prescribed purposes to, in-part, influenced by a foreign intelligence agent whose

last name Habib; specifically designed to undermine the State of Alabama'


Anonymous said...

How many Alabamians are aware of the factual evidences involving Sessions' and

Pryor's alleged illegal and unlawful activities during such times while in their

official capacities, acting under color of law found out so suspect and suspicious

their participations, both were ordered by the court to recuse themselves;

subsequently a U.S. Attorney initiated a formal investigation into which

the allegations suspected of, were confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Sessions is used to the Mobile Press-Register and Birmingham News turning a blind eye to his dirty deeds. That's because they are racist, white-nationalist organizations who support Jeffy's warped world view. The Alabama papers are Class A ball, Jeffy, the rookie leagues. You are at Yankee Stadium now, and the white hot lights are shining on you. Enjoy the heat.

Anonymous said...

Here is "Mr. Tough on Crime" committing the ultimate crime -- selling out his own country.

Bastard . . . bastard . . . bastard . . .

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the CNN report mentions the GOP primary in a Russia-scandal story. For the most part, that angle of the story has gone unreported. If Russia was determined to have Trump in the White House, wouldn't it have to take steps to make sure he was the GOP nominee? It seems likely to me that Hillary Clinton wasn't the only one cheated? What about Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and others in the GOP field? Will be interesting if that angle of the story ever fully comes to light.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:53 --

You make a very interesting point. We tend to look back now and think it always was clear that Trump would be the GOP nominee. But that was not the case. Perhaps he moved to the top of the pack because of his policies, his name recognition, his compelling communication skills, his "outsider" status. But maybe he took the lead because Russian operatives interfered with his primary opponents, as they did with Hillary Clinton in the general election.

I'm guessing Ted Cruz and others are under pressure from the GOP establishment to remain quiet about this. But you have to wonder if that will last.

Anonymous said...

"But maybe he took the lead because Russian operatives interfered with his primary opponents...."

Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

Big Lutha sez:

"If you turn on the TV tonight, what you will probably see is a lot of talk about Russia," Strange said. "Russia this, Russia that, Russia and our elections, Russia and the president. I travel in this state every single day - top to bottom, east to west, big cities and small towns, and I have yet had anybody come up to me and say they're worried about Russia messing with our elections."

legalschnauzer said...

@5:38 --

Thanks for sharing. Might be the dumbest political quote ever. We would expect no less from Big Lutha.

Anonymous said...

On the internet people are commenting about Jeff Sessions!

The Associated Press‏Verified account @AP

BREAKING: Special counsel's Trump campaign investigation includes Manafort case, may expand to include Attorney General Sessions.

Jeet Heer‏Verified account @HeerJeet

Jeet Heer Retweeted The Associated Press

It would be incredibly great if that fucker Jeff Sessions is one of the ones that goes down in flames.

digby‏ @digby56 24h24 hours ago

digby Retweeted Jeet Heer

Yes please.

Anonymous said...

Big Lutha may have a primary challenger...if Sessions is fired by Trump...but which one would you call the incumbent?

WASHINGTON — Few Republicans were quicker to embrace President Trump’s campaign last year than Jeff Sessions, and his reward was one of the most prestigious jobs in America. But more than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump accused Mr. Sessions’s department of devising a “politically correct” version of the ban — as if the president had nothing to do with it.

In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.

That feeling when you begin to realize you have a lot of power...but your boss is a NUMBER ONE A$$HOLE...

Anonymous said...


Even boot liKKKer toadies like jeff sece$$ions aren't good enough for dear leader.

Students of authoritarianism see a pattern taking shape

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University who writes extensively on authoritarianism and Italian fascism, told me that a discernible trait of authoritarian and autocratic rulers is ongoing “frustration” with the “inability to make others do their bidding” and with “institutional and bureaucratic procedures and checks and balances.”

“Trump doesn’t respect democratic procedure and finds it to be something that gets in his way,” Ben-Ghiat said. “The blaming of others is very typical of autocrats, because they have difficulty listening to a reality that doesn’t coincide with their version of it. It’s part of the authoritarian temperament to blame others when things aren’t working.”

Trump expects independent officials “to behave according to personal loyalty, as opposed to following the rules,” added Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale University who wrote “On Tyranny,” a book of lessons from the 20th century. “For Trump, that is how the world is supposed to work. Trump doesn’t understand that in the world there might truly be laws and rules that constrain a leader.”

Anonymous said...

Dafna Linzer‏Verified account @DafnaLinzer

Comey says he was certain Attorney General Sessions would have to recuse because of "facts that I can't discuss in open setting."

Josh Rogin‏Verified account @joshrogin

Biggest news so far is Comey alluding to still secret reasons Sessions would have to recuse himself on the Russia investigation. #amirite?

Anonymous said...

The rock has been kicked, and Sessions might be the trumpster scurrying for cover!

Sessions Moves to the Center of the Russia Story
By Josh Marshall Published June 11, 2017 5:02 pm

Back in early March, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions first recused himself from the Russia investigation, I noted that it was an example of something that is peculiar to big political scandals. Certainly at the start, it is all but impossible to judge their full scope and detail. We don’t know enough. But often we can infer the depth and scope of big scandals by the intensity of the gravitation that surrounds them.

That was my first thought when Sessions meetings and recusal hit the news in early March. I have a very low view of Jeff Sessions. But it never occurred to me he was tied up, even in the sense of possibly inconsequential meetings, with the Russia story.

Now we have more. Possibly a lot more. Let’s take a moment to go through it


Sessions getting sucked further into Trump’s Russia mess

The attorney general is set to appear before his former colleagues after Comey hinted at more ‘problematic’ issues with Sessions and Russia.

Jeff Sessions took a gamble when he became the first senator to endorse Donald Trump for president in February of last year. Now, with Trump’s administration awash in scandal, he’s set to face his former colleagues to answer for his role in the controversy around connections between Trump’s associates and Moscow.

For Sessions, it’s a rapid backslide from the position he was in after Trump’s inauguration, when he was seen as a central figure in the president’s efforts to crack down on immigration and carry out Trump’s larger “America First” agenda.

legalschnauzer said...

@6:14 --

Thanks for sharing. Insightful articles. I've seen some reports that Sessions has canceled his planned testimony. Not sure if that is something he unilaterally do.