Ten Questions For Attorney General Sessions
June 12, 2017
1. Sessions has argued that his September 2016 private sit-down with Kislyak was done in his capacity as a Senator and particularly his membership on the Senate Armed Services Committee. However, no other member of the committee reported meeting with Kislyak in 2016. Why does Sessions believe wanted to meet with him if he had no other contact with other members of the committee?
2. In making the argument that his September 2016 meeting with Kislyak was related to Senate business only, Sessions’ office released a list of meetings he took with foreign officials that began in April of 2016, right around the time Trump began locking up the nomination. Would Senator Sessions be willing to release lists of ambassadors he met with in 2015 or years prior to back up his point that these meetings were unrelated to his role on the Trump campaign?
3. In his letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee acknowledging two meetings with Ambassador Kislyak in 2016, Sessions claimed he spoke briefly with Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in July. While Sessions explained that he was advised not to report his September 2016 meeting with Kislyak because it was not a campaign-related event, is it Sessions’ position that he simply forgot the July encounter, given that it was clearly in a campaign setting?
4. There are reports that Sessions failed to report a third interaction with Kislyak, which reportedly occurred at a small VIP reception before then-candidate Trump’s April 2016 foreign policy speech, where Kislyak photographed walking behind Sessions to take his seat at the event. Did Sessions and/or his staff make any effort to search the public record for possible interactions like this before he claimed that he knew of no others meetings with Kislyak?
5. Prior to or after Sessions’ March 2 recusal, did President Trump ever press Attorney General Sessions to put pressure on Director Comey to drop the Flynn investigation or any other aspect of the Russia probe?
6. In the days leading up to Comey’s firing, President Trump was reportedly openly fuming about the Russia investigation and his frustration with former Director Comey. In consulting with Sessions and Deputy A.G. Rosenstein about Comey’s firing, did President Trump raise his frustration with the Russia investigation?
7. Sessions has given conflicting statements about the timeline and decision-making that led to his recusal on March 2nd. During his confirmation process, Sessions told Senators that he saw no reason to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. However, when he announced his recusal, Sessions said staff had been meeting about the recusal questions since he had been sworn in, and Director Comey indicated last week that the FBI believed that a recusal was “inevitable.” Did Sessions resist calls for recusal because of President Trump’s reported desire to keep him in charge of the investigation?
8. Comey revealed in his testimony that he told Sessions he didn’t want to be left alone with President Trump. While the DOJ refuted Comey’s recollection of Sessions’ response, it did not elaborate on whether Sessions made any effort to address Comey’s concerns. Did Sessions follow up in any capacity with either Comey or the White House on the subject of the President’s contacts with the FBI?
9. Sessions described his September 2016 meeting with Kislyak as a broad conversation that touched on the issue of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Did Sessions specifically discuss U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine with the ambassador during that meeting, and did it come up during his brief conversation with him in July during the convention?
10. Former Trump campaign advisor J.D. Gordon has said that Carter Page kept in touch with members of the Trump campaign national security team, including Sessions. Did Sessions have contact with Carter Page – and if he did, what was the nature of their conversations?