Bernie Sanders Calls On Jeff Sessions To Resign

by Morgan Brinlee
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President Donald Trump's new attorney general is feeling the heat. Sen. Bernie Sanders urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Thursday following allegations the then-senator had committed perjury when he failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador in his Senate confirmation hearing. Sanders is the latest member of Congress to join a growing list of Democrats calling for Sessions' resignation.

"Attorney General Sessions should resign and a special prosecutor should be appointed to give the American people credible answers about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election," Sanders said in a statement released Thursday.

The Washington Post reported Sessions held a private meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in his office in September. Sessions and Kislyak also reportedly met during an event organized by the Heritage Foundation at the Republican National Convention. Following his nomination to attorney general, Sen. Al Franken asked Sessions in his Senate confirmation hearing what he would do if he learned of evidence proving communications between Russia and anyone affiliated with Trump's campaign.

"I'm not aware of any of those activities," Sessions answered. "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."

Sessions was also asked in written questions whether he had "been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day. He responded simply with "no," the Post reported.

Sessions has denied any wrongdoing. "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign," he said in a statement released Wednesday. "I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false." The Justice Department has also defended Sessions, saying he held meetings with Kislyak in his capacity as a senior member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee. At the time, however, Sessions was also serving as a close adviser to Trump after formally joining his presidential campaign in February 2016.

"Millions of Americans are deeply concerned about the possibility that the Trump administration colluded with President Putin and the Russian authoritarian government to win the presidential election," Sanders said Thursday. "It is deeply disturbing that then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, under oath at a Senate confirmation hearing, falsely denied having met with the Russian ambassador."

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Sen. Sanders joins more than 100 Congressional Democrats — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — in calling for Sessions to not only recuse himself from any investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia but to also resign as attorney general.

"We need a Justice Department that will give us the facts about Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and their ties to the Trump campaign, not one led by someone who deliberately misled Congress about his own communications with the Russian government," Sanders said.