Putting 70-year-old Attorney Genera Jeff Sessions in the hot seat on the House Judiciary Committee, Democrats made their best case for perjury for his prior testimony. Sessions told the Committee in his Senate confirmation hearings he had no recall of talking to Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign. When Sessions’ conversation came up on “incidental collection” on the National Security Agency’s routine surveillance of foreign officials, Sessions had to admit whoops. U.S. intel agencies monitoring conversations of former Russian Amb. Sergey Kislyak “unmasked” inconsequential conversations with Kislyak, all routine for a potentially incoming administration. Yet today’s Russia hysteria on Capitol Hill makes it a federal offense to talk with anyone Russian. Sessions was asked about 30-year-old foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea for lying to FBI agents.
Papadopoulos told FBI agents he spoke to no one from Russia during the 2016 campaign, when, in fact, it was after he joined the campaign. At a 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Papadopoulos present, Sessions said he didn’t recall anyone talking about his Russian contacts. Democrats held Sessions feet to the fire, insisting he told them he knew nothing about Papadopoulos or anyone else in the Trump campaign talking to Russian operatives. Sessions admitted to recalling the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. Sessions made clear to the Judiciary Committee that he told Papadopoulos he “wanted to make clear to [Papadopoulos] that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with Russian government,” said Sessions. “But I did not recall this even, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago,” refuting the idea that he deliberately misled the Committee.
House Democrats, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have insisted the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election. Special Counsel former FBI Director Robert Mueller has found no such connection, despite attempts by Schiff and other Democrats to make that case. Schiff completely ignores former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s paid opposition research AKA the so-called “dossier,” documenting Trump-Russian involvement, among other unverified salacious gossip. Hillary paid Fusion-GPS who hired former MI6 agent Michale Steele to pull his Russian strings to get dirt on Trump. With all the dirty tricks in political campaigns, dredging up dirt on your opponents is common practice. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee want to make a big deal of Sessions talking to Kislyak, when using Steele’s Russian connections was far more egregious.
Whatever Sessions heard or didn’t hear Papadopoulos say in a meeting nearly two years ago doesn’t come close to establishing Russian collusion. Papadopoulus was an inconsequential, nearly invisible part of Trump’s foreign policy team. Trying to look like a big shot, he exaggerated his ties, if he had any at all, with so-called Russian contacts. But whatever his contacts, whether Russian or otherwise, all campaigns are about getting dirt on the other candidate. Trump certainly made a strong case against Hillary’s emails and pay-to-play while running the State Department to get voters to take notice. Pushing the Russian conspiracy theory has been Democrats’ way of discrediting Trump before the 2018 Midterm Elections. If Mueller doesn’t find anything soon, the Russian collusion gambit is going to backfire. Republicans are hammering hard about Hillary’s alleged pay-to-play over Uranium-One.
Sessions insisted yesterday he “always told the truth,” despite apparent inconsistencies in his Senate confirmation hearings. When asked if he had contacts with Russian operatives, of course he said no. How could anyone think that Kislyak’s rotund face was a Russian operative? Speaking with the Russia’s Washington ambassador was routine. How former National Security Adviser Susan Rice possibly think it was appropriate to “unmask” Session’s routine conversations with Kislyak? Admitting Sept. 18 to the House Intelligence Committee she “unmasked” Trump campaign officials, Rice confessed to spying. Rice didn’t admit who gave her the authority to “unmask” through “incidental data collection” Trump campaign officials. When Trump said March 4 former President Barack Obama “tapped his phones,” the media went crazy demanding proof or a retraction.
Hammering Sessions for easily explained inconsistencies, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee want no part of growing evidence that the Obama administration did, in fact, wiretap the Trump campaign. If Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch gave Rice the authority to “unmask” Trump campaign officials, including Sessions and former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, the order must have come from the Oval Office. As the facts shift from Trump collusion to Hillary’s role in unmasking Trump campaign officials, the investigation gets down to brass tacks. Whatever the pay-to-play scandal while Hillary ran the State Department, it pales into insignificance into hijacking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act to win in a political campaign. All Executive branches, including the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Agency, are now under more scrutiny.