Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been in contact with Russia’s ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign. As a result, many leading legislators from both major parties called for Sessions to recuse himself from any potential future investigation regarding the campaign’s contacts with Russia. All this after many Democrats have accused Russia and Trump of rigging the election.
Naturally, in this radically divisive political culture built as a result of the 2016 election, the general public is divided on how to take this news. The truth is that mistakes were made on both sides of the aisle, and in all honesty, that’s a stance that should be taken more often.
Sessions made a bad call in not amending his original statements from the January confirmation hearings, when he was asked two questions regarding the matter. The later-to-be Attorney General stated that “…I did not have communications with the Russians.” More on that later.
Clarification is always important, and Sessions never took the chance to clarify the content of those meetings. Had action been taken then, this would not be a front-page story, and Sessions would most likely not have had to recuse himself from investigation, although it was the right move.
It seems common sense that Sessions resign at that point. After all, he said that “…I did not have communications with the Russians,” right? Didn’t he lie? But that’s where the word ‘context’ comes in. Here is the exact wording of Senator Al Franken’s (D-MN) question:
“If there was any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what would you do?”.
Sessions answered back, “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
The question was meant to address the left-wing’s claim that Trump and Putin rigged the election together, so the wording limited the question of Russian contact “…in the course of this campaign.” The second question that Sessions later received in his confirmation hearing was also explicitly limited to the 2016 election.
That was the context of these questions, and in that context, Sessions answered “no.” Remember, Sessions was a Senator at the time of those meetings, and a member of the Armed Services Committee. It is quite standard for a Senator to meet with a foreign ambassador, and that was the explanation given for the meetings.
Context is a basic part of studying any text. Anything taken out of context, after all, could mean anything you want it to. And that is where the left took it, so desperate to bring President Trump an unfilled cabinet and negative news coverage that they began grasping at straws, such as equating a standard meeting with collusion to rig the election. The left-leaning mainstream media rolled along with the false narrative, harboring similar desires.
One might say that we have no proof that Sessions and the Russian ambassador didn’t talk about how to rig the election, and that is correct; however, were the American people ever given proof that Bill Clinton didn’t talk about Hillary’s innocence to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on that airplane in Phoenix, just hours before Lynch would announce her support for whatever decision the FBI would come to regarding Hillary’s emails? What about when Attorney General Eric Holder was help in contempt by the House of Representatives in 2012 for refusing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running sting (That was the first time in American history that the House has held its country’s acting Attorney General in contempt)? Where were the calls of rescue and resignation from the left then?
There were mistakes on both sides, but there is no more proof that Sessions lied about anything than there is for Bill Clinton, Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder. That being said, it was necessary for Sessions to recuse himself to instill confidence into this administration, a much-needed sentiment for this administration.