Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Inquiry
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing a chorus of criticism over his contacts with the Russian ambassador, recused himself Thursday from any investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His conversations with the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, came amid suspected Russian hacking directed at Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
华盛顿——面对众多关于他和俄罗斯大使进行接触的指责，司法部长杰夫·塞申斯(Jeff Sessions)于周四自请回避对俄罗斯干涉2016年总统选举的一切调查。在他与俄罗斯大使谢尔盖·I·基斯利亚克(Sergey I. Kislyak)对话之时，俄罗斯正被怀疑对希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)的竞选活动发起了黑客攻击。
Sessions said he made the decision after meeting with senior career officials at the Justice Department. He said he would not take part in any investigations “related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”
He also strongly denied that any of his conversations with Russian officials were related to the presidential campaign. And he said he did not intend to deceive the Senate when he said he had no such meetings with Russian officials.
The remarks by Sessions came not long after President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his support for Sessions and said he should not recuse himself from the investigation. Sessions was a key adviser and surrogate for Trump’s campaign.
Trump said that he “wasn’t aware” that Sessions had spoken to the ambassador, but that he believed the attorney general had testified truthfully to the Senate during his confirmation hearing.
Congressional Republicans began breaking ranks to join Democrats in demanding that Sessions recuse himself from overseeing an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Those calls came after the disclosure that Sessions himself spoke with the Russian ambassador last year, in seeming contradiction to his testimony at his confirmation hearing.
The partisan furor that broke out with the Justice Department’s acknowledgment of the contacts late Wednesday began to take on a bipartisan sheen as the controversy spilled into Thursday morning.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who leads the Oversight Committee, said on Twitter on Thursday, “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”
Some Democrats were already going further, suggesting that Sessions had perjured himself in the confirmation hearing for the attorney general post and demanding that he step down.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Thursday to the Justice Department and the FBI asking for “an immediate criminal investigation into these statements, which could potentially implicate a number of criminal laws including lying to Congress and perjury.”
The Trump administration dismissed the accusations as partisan attacks.