A complaint sent to the U.S. Department of Justice Monday alleges that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his communications with the Russian government and later tried to cover up the lie, and asks the department to launch a criminal inquiry of its boss.
The complaint names 23 residents of five states and, according to the Washington Post, states that during his January confirmation hearing, Sessions gave “false and misleading” testimony when he said he “did not have communications with Russians.” That alleged lie was made worse when Sessions attempted to cover it up by having his spokeswoman make a public statement saying that he did not mislead the committee, the complaint indicates.
“We feel there is probable cause to charge him with a crime,” J. Whitfield Larrabee, a Massachusetts lawyer who represents the 23 residents, told the Washington Post. “We want indictments in the case. We want Attorney General Sessions to be treated just the same as anyone else. We don’t think that just because he’s the attorney general, that there should be a higher standard to bring charges against him.”
From the Post:
Larrabee said the complaint was sent Monday to three Justice Department divisions that investigate alleged crimes and misconduct by agency employees and public officials.
How the agency will handle a complaint against its leader is unclear. Larrabee said the department should appoint a special prosecutor to handle the investigation and prosecution.
A spokesman for one of the divisions, the Office of Inspector General, declined to comment on the allegations. Other Justice Department spokespeople haven’t responded to a request for comment.
The group of complainants, which includes three doctors and a pastor, are from California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont.
As previously reported on The Root, contrary to the testimony he gave during his confirmation hearing, Sessions, while a U.S. senator representing the state of Alabama, had two conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign last year, and that contact is likely to result in calls for his recusal from a Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Sessions, who was both an early supporter of Donald Trump and a policy adviser to the then-Republican candidate for president, did not disclose those communications at his confirmation hearing in January when he was asked directly if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had contact with the Russians.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores defended Sessions Wednesday night, saying that “there is absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”
“He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” Flores said in a statement.
After reports later surfaced confirming that Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sessions then confirmed that he had met with Sergey Kislyak twice last year—once during the Republican National Convention in July, and again at his Senate office in September.
As the Post notes, in a March 6 letter, Sessions said that he answered the questions asked of him “correctly” and “honestly.”
“I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them,” he wrote.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed an ethics complaint against Sessions with the Alabama State Bar’s disciplinary commission earlier this month, the Post reports. Sessions has been a member of the bar since 1973.
If there is going to be a criminal inquiry of Sessions, it needs to be handled by an outside special prosecutor and not someone from within his own department.
It’s obvious this entire administration is full of crap, and if we are going to suffer through getting them out of here one at a time, please let Sessions be next.
Read more at the Washington Post.