All Members Of The Mass. Congressional Delegation Call For AG Sessions To Resign
Update at 5:15 p.m: Sessions will recuse himself from any investigations into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 elections.
Our earlier post:
The 11 members of Massachusetts' all-Democratic congressional delegation are united in calling for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in the wake of reports of Sessions' contact with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign.
Citing an unnamed source, and following other news outlets' reports, NPR reports that then-Sen. Sessions — and an adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump — spoke twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016, but then testified at his Senate confirmation hearing in January that he had not "had communications with the Russians."
Beginning Wednesday night, each of the Massachusetts members of Congress individually rolled out statements denouncing Sessions' reported actions.
Just before midnight, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first of the state's politicos to demand the recently confirmed Justice Department head step down.
Warren's demand was soon followed by that of her fellow outspoken critic of the Trump administration, Rep. Seth Moulton.
Senior Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have also called on Sessions to resign.
Schumer urged Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente to appoint a special prosecutor to launch a probe into Russia's attempted influence in the 2016 election — a request many of the Massachusetts Democrats also appealed for.
"Americans deserve the truth about the full extent of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and attack on our democracy," U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern said in a statement. "We need a full and independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the political, personal and financial connections of President Trump to the Russians."
Sessions has denied these allegations in a statement released by the Justice Department, claiming his discussions with the ambassador were conducted strictly in his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign," he said. "I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."
President Trump told reporters Thursday he has "total" confidence in Sessions.
Several of the Massachusetts U.S. representatives, including Reps. Katherine Clark and Joe Kennedy III, initially called for Sessions' recusal from any investigation into Russian interference in the election, before later doubling down and urging Sessions to quit.
"An Attorney General who refuses to defend LGBTQ students from discrimination and to uphold our sacred promise of access to the ballot box is unfit for the office," Kennedy wrote in a statement Thursday. "But last night's reports of Russian contacts followed by misleading statements to the public demand Jeff Sessions' immediate resignation."
A wider circle of legislators, including Republicans, have also called for Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and efforts by Russia to interfere in the U.S. election.
Other prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, called the accusations a partisan tactic by Democrats and rejected the idea that Sessions should recuse himself.
The controversy over Sessions is the latest to raise questions about ties between Trump backers and Russian officials.
As NPR reports:
President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned in the wake of disclosures of his discussions with a Russian official, which took place in December, before Trump and his staff were legally entitled to conduct foreign policy.
Both Warren and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey voted against Sessions' nomination as attorney general.
With reporting by WBUR's Benjamin Swasey
This article was originally published on March 02, 2017.