Anything to distract.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign after it emerged that he had misled senators during his confirmation hearing about at least two meetings he had with the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the campaign. Sessions also failed to disclose the meetings on his security clearance application.
The issue isn’t the meeting themselves — it’s Sessions’ deception. It’s also the fact that his subsequent explanations for lack of transparency don’t pass the smell test. For instance, Sessions claimed he didn’t disclose his meetings with Kislyak because he attended him in his capacity as senator, even though one of them occurred at the Republican National Convention — an event that Sessions traveled to and from using campaign funds. What’s more, a person who was at the RNC told the Wall Street Journal that Sessions and Kislyak discussed the Trump campaign.
But in their ongoing effort to distract from President Donald Trump’s shady Russia ties by concocting fresh scandals about the Obama administration, the GOP’s official Twitter account tried to defend Sessions on Tuesday by suggesting Obama staffers had their own shady dealings with the Russian ambassador. Sessions was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time.
What that tweet doesn’t tell the GOP’s 1.4 million followers is that Barack Obama was president between 2009 and 2016. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that his aides would meet with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during that time.
It’s less clear why surrogates of an American presidential candidate would be in regular contact with a foreign adversary at the same time that foreign adversary is meddling in the electoral process on behalf of their candidate.
The GOP’s tweet is taken from talking points the Republican National Committee distributed ahead of Sessions’ testimony. Those talking points conveniently ignore the fact that Sessions seemingly violated his recusal by recommending the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. They also claim Sessions “recused himself only because of his participation in President Trump’s campaign,” completely ignoring that he didn’t disclose his meetings with Kislyak until the Washington Post broke news about them more than a month after his confirmation hearing.