06.01.17

Leahy And Franken Release Their Earlier Letters To The FBI Requesting An Inquiry Into Attorney General Sessions’ Contacts With Russian Officials

[(THURSDAY, June 1, 2017) -- Following is the joint statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) about their request to FBI Director Comey (and later to Acting Director McCabe) for an FBI inquiry into Attorney General Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and his contacts with Russian officials.  Leahy and Franken, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had queried Sessions under oath about his Russian contacts during Sessions’ confirmation hearings.  When it was revealed that Sessions misled both Leahy and Franken in his testimony, Sessions recused himself from involvement in the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference and related issues.  The three Leahy-Franken letters are available HERE, HERE, and HERE].

“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.  He made no attempt to correct his misleading testimony until the Washington Post revealed that, in fact, he had at least two meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Yet 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.

“On March 20, we asked then-FBI Director Comey to investigate Attorney General Sessions’ false testimony and any additional contacts he may have had with Russian officials, including reports that he may have met with the Russian ambassador at a small, private Trump campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016.  We anticipated that Director Comey would respond to our letter by May 12.  Director Comey was abruptly dismissed on May 9.  Since then we have been in communication with the FBI concerning a response to our letter, and we expect to be briefed on this matter in the near future.

“We served with the Attorney General in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee for many years.  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.”

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