Two Democratic senators made three separate requests asking the FBI to investigate U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to concerns that he may have had an additional meeting with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak that was not disclosed.
CNN obtained copies of the letters Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent then-FBI Director James Comey on March 20 and April 28 and to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on May 12, expressing concern that Sessions may have perjured himself during his testimony before the committee.
“We are concerned about Attorney General Sessions’ lack of candor to the committee and his failure thus far to accept responsibility for testimony that could be construed as perjury,” Franken and Leahy wrote to Comey in their first request.
A Senate source told CNN that the senators still have not received a response to their request.
Sessions was grilled by both Leahy and Franken during his confirmation hearings about his contacts with Russian officials about the 2016 presidential campaign, and at the time, Sessions claimed he had had none, but a subsequent report from the Washington Post showed that to be false; Sessions met with Kislyak twice. Once the revelation was made, Sessions recused himself from oversight of the Russian probe.
According to CNN, congressional investigators are now looking into whether Sessions met with Kislyak a third time.
“Earlier this year, Attorney General Sessions provided false testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to our questions regarding his contacts with Russian officials,” Franken and Leahy said in a joint statement Thursday. “The attorney general never fully explained or even acknowledged the misrepresentations in his testimony, and we remained concerned that he had still not been forthcoming about the extent of his contacts with Russian officials.”
Both senators say that if Sessions did perjure himself, he should resign.
“We served with the attorney general in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee for many years,” they wrote. “We know he would not tolerate dishonesty if he were in our shoes. If it is determined that the attorney general still has not been truthful with Congress and the American people about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, he needs to resign.”
GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, disagreed with Leahy and Franken. During an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Rohrabacher said, “You’re trying to make this look like Attorney General Sessions is doing something sinister because he forgot that he’d had one extra conversation with the Russian ambassador.”
When asked about congressional investigators’ examination of another possible meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said: “The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. We will allow him to do his job.”
Flores also denied that there was a third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak and criticized the anonymous sources cited by CNN.
“It is unfortunate that anonymous sources whose credibility will never face public scrutiny are continuously trying to hinder that process by peddling false stories to the mainstream media. The facts haven’t changed; the then senator did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” Flores said.
It was confirmed Thursday that Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.
Read more at CNN.