In theory, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee thanks to allegations made by former FBI Director James Comey while recalling his experience being fired, admittedly by Trump, in an effort to end the investigation into alleged collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia. It’s a “made-up story,” according to Trump even though his own attorney general and the bi-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee accept the intelligence community’s high confidence assessment that Russia massively interfered with the 2016 election.
And the scope of that interference frighteningly broadens everyday as a recent report in Bloomberg now yanks the rug out from under the assumed notion that voting results were not hacked. (Once again, I defer to Charles Pierce, but with the caveat that I don’t think the issue is the infantilizing of the American public as much as the Obama administration knew it’d be Civil War II if it stopped Trump from taking office. I could be wrong, but the marked increase of shiny new Confederate license plates in my general vicinity says the Fighting Honky Regiment is ready for battle.)
Anyway, in practice, Sessions mostly spoke like goddamn Foghorn Leghorn and repeatedly refused to answer questions by invoking DOJ policies that don’t exist. Fortunately, Sessions got his ass handed to him by Senator Kamala Harris, but not before he was softly caressed by Senator Tom Cotton whose actual line of questioning literally boiled down to, “This isn’t how they do stuff in the movies, so clearly the whole thing never happened! I love you.”
However, during Sessions round of questions with Senator Angus King, the delicious E.L Fudge cookie disguised as an attorney general made an interesting remark about why he never asked for any information about the Russian attack on the election.
From Mother Jones:
King: You never asked for a briefing or attended a briefing or read the intelligence report?
Sessions: You might have been very critical of me if I, as an active part of the campaign, was seeking intelligence relating to something that might be relevant to the campaign. I’m not sure that would’ve been—
King: I’m not talking about the campaign, I’m talking about what the Russians did. You received no briefing on the Russian active measures in connection with the 2016 election?
Sessions: No I don’t believe I ever did.
So two things: One, this, along with other testimony by Sessions confirmed Comey’s testimony that outside of Trump’s complaint about a “cloud” being over him, the administration has shown zero interest in learning about the Russian attack on American democracy let alone finding ways to stop it. None.
As Mother Jones writes:
Manchin continued: “You were part of the national security team, so if [Trump] would’ve heard something about Russia with their capabilities or concern about what they could do to our election process. Was there ever any conversations concerning that whatsoever?”
Sessions answered, “I don’t recall it.”
The implication was clear: Trump and his national security team had not extensively discussed—if they had discussed at all—the Russian assault against the United States. This was a damning admission from Sessions.
Two, as Sessions repeatedly stated, he only recused himself from matters concerning the campaign, which is how he justified being involved with firing Comey as that was just a “performance issue” even though Trump would flagrantly admit to Lester Holt – and a room full of Russians – that the reasoning was entirely because of the investigation into the campaign. (Senator Wyden particularly wasn’t having Session’s shit on this one.)
As King and Manchin seem to suggest, as far as the broad scope of the Russian active measures goes, Sessions in his capacity as the head of the DOJ and the national security team should have been fine exploring the matter to prevent another blatant attack on our democracy especially if this took place before he recused himself. Yet Sessions didn’t go near the subject because it was, oddly, not a concern for the administration. Which, okay, shady, but that would’ve made sense. But then Sessions offered up that it probably would’ve looked bad to the Senate committee if he had looked into the active measures.
Why would Sessions say that? Because he knows Russia and the campaign are connected.