Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) said he may still ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign if “he refuses to publicly explain his misleading answers” during Senate Judicial Committee hearings about his interaction with Russian officials.
Sessions, the recently confirmed U.S. attorney general, announced March 2 that he is formally recusing himself from any current or future investigations from the Judicial Committee into the administration of Donald Trump and its interaction with Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn previously resigned when it was revealed he lied to top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his interactions with the Russian government.
AG Sessions must publicly explain his misleading testimony to Judic Cmte. If his answers are not satisfactory, I'll call for his resignation
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) March 2, 2017
“President Trump’s chief national security advisor was recently forced to resign because he lied about his contacts with the Russian government,” Kaine said in a statement. “Now there is strong evidence that the nation’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, held meetings with Russian governmental officials and misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about those contacts during his confirmation hearing.
“This is deeply disturbing and demonstrates, once again, the need for a full and independent investigation into all contacts between the Trump Campaign, the Trump Administration, and the Russian government.”
There were widespread bipartisan calls from members of Congress for Sessions to remove himself from any investigation into the Trump administration’s dealings with Russia and possible interference by Moscow in the 2016 elections. Media reports earlier this week showed Sessions, then a senator from Alabama, had discussed the election with Russian officials, even though he denied doing so in his confirmation hearings. Sessions has continued to deny any impropriety, saying his interactions were routine conversations inherent with his position as a then-member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.
“I have taken no actions regarding any such matters, to the extent they exist,” Sessions said in a statement. “This announcement (of recusal) should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation.”
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente will serve the duties of the Attorney General in any situations involving the Russian inquiries.
Before announcing his recusal, Virginia 10th District Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) also called for Sessions to step aside during potential investigations.
“… Attorney General Sessions needs to recuse himself in any Justice Department Investigations related to Russian interference with the 2016 election,” Comstock said in a statement. “The Attorney General also needs to clarify any misconceptions from his confirmation hearing on the matter. Attorneys General have recused themselves in the past like former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013.”