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Sessions’ Testimony Smells Increasingly Fishy

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The Washington Post just published a story—although one based on the accounts of unnamed U.S. Officials—which you really need to go read. Here’s how it starts:

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. Senator that he met with Kislyak.

By the time this saga plays out, the number of dropped shoes will likely exceed the size of Imelda Marcos’ collection. Recall that Sessions actively volunteered in his confirmation hearings that he’d had no campaign-related contact with Russian officials.

Now, in of itself, discussing your campaign’s positions on a country with its ambassador doesn’t strike me as particularly problematic. The context, though… the context.

Although it remains unclear how involved Kislyak was in the covert Russian campaign to aid Trump, his superiors in Moscow were eager for updates about the candidate’s positions, particularly regarding U.S. sanctions on Russia and long-standing disputes with the Obama administration over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

What did Sessions know. And when did he know it?

UPDATE: Apparently, those of you speculating that Trump’s behind this leak aren’t alone.

If true, it would fit a pattern of Trump’s complete inability to think strategically. The leak suggests that Trump knew the extent that his Attorney General had perjured himself; it provides additional evidence of questionable linkages between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Vindictive? Shortsighted? Sure. Why not?

Image by JonnyBrazil at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Jay B.

    Since Sessions has zero credibility and is a human cancer, I tend to believe the Russian Ambassador, but, at the same time, whatever causes Sessions problems, I’m happy for. There’s already a school of thought that thinks that this will lead to a new AG, which will in turn, get Mueller fired, but Trump can already fire Mueller anyway, right?

    • twbb

      Trump turning on Sessions was just beautiful. The hilarious thing is recusing himself was one of the few principled (or apparently principled, who knows his motivation) things the man’s done in his life and he gets blasted for it.

      • addicted4444

        The fact that Trump blasted Sessions for his only ethical action is neither surprising nor ironic. He was hired precisely because of his lack of ethics, much like every other Trump employee.

        • Dennis Orphen

          The lack of ethics extends to anyone who even considers working for this administration voluntarily.

          • twbb

            I think there are some people who legitimately signed up because they thought they could help preserve the country from Trump’s malevolent incompetence.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Yes, true, but of course it’s a contradiction. Anyone who naive (at best) enough believe that they could do that is not a person capable of helping us in any way in my opinion.

          • Murc

            Enh.

            I think this is only true when heavily qualified. People who could easily be working anyplace else who volunteer to come in? Sure, they’re not to be trusted.

            Career civil servants who have families and mortgages and have been in government for twenty years not resigning or turning down promotions because Trump? I’m prepared to give those guys a pass.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Completely agree, which is why I added voluntarily at the end of the comment.

            • stepped pyramids

              The distinction here is pretty straightforward: civil servants versus political appointees. Anyone serving “at the pleasure of the President” is suspect.

              • busker type

                I think that Mattis and McMaster, while I probably disagree with them quite strongly on their view of the world, are fairly principled and not hacks. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking?
                I can’t think of a single other political appointee in this administration who is any better than wet garbage.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Mattis, at least, apparently fought tooth and nail over the WH desire to put Trump loyalists on his staff and is maybe undercutting some of the White House’s statements to foreign leaders. There’s maybe an argument to be made that he’s trying to contain some of the damage Trump can do with the military.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Yes, I’d like to think Mattis is trying to defend the institutions. That whole loyalists-for-staff thing sounded like Soviet political officers to me.

        • I don’t know about Sessions’ personal ethics, given that he lied under oath to Congress, but there is also professional ethics to consider. There was talk of Sessions being disbarred if he didn’t recuse himself.

          • Erik Loomis

            Can a white supremacist truly be said to be ethical?

            • Could have strong ethical principles, but no.

            • Isn’t “to be ethical” exactly what you do when you (1) have an ethos that you (2) act on ? In which case, the answer would appear to follow from a well-known internet tradition.

            • “Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.”

          • Brien Jackson

            I don’t think Sessions recused himself for anything relating to ethical concerns, it was pure political caginess. Sessions responding to the revelations by recusing himself took the air out of the story IMMEDIATELY, and the period between then and Trump firing Comey was nearly devoid of any stories about Russia in the mainstream media.

        • “I’m talkin’ about – hell. Leo, I ain’t embarrassed to use the word – I’m talkin’ about ethics.”

      • JMP

        Well Sessions does have principals; it’s just that those principals are white supremacy and continuing the war on drugs (which are not exactly unrelated).

        • M.

          War on (black people using) drugs.

          I’m pretty sure he takes the disparity in prosecutions for cocaine vs crack use as an example of the system working as intended.

          • Yeah, but also white people using marijuana. From all reports, JBSIII *really* hates marijuana.

    • He can’t fire Mueller directly. But if he gets a compliant non-recused AG in place, he can order Mueller’s firing.

      • Jay B.

        OK, but he could have fired Sessions last week to have that happen. I’m not at all saying that can’t or won’t happen, but it was already on the table.

        • Sure. However I think they are trying to discredit Mueller first, or at least raise enough doubts in enough people that Republicans have an excuse for not treating it as an egregious abuse of power.

          • Jay B.

            The only thing that would surprise me about this administration is that they planned ahead enough to think of this, but even then, it just seems too convoluted and still doesn’t do anything to discredit Mueller.

            • humanoidpanda

              The problem with all the Trump can do whatever and nothing will happen is that if they were true, there would ben no Mueller in the first place

          • stepped pyramids

            If this is their plan, I can’t see it doing much good. Trump’s diehards already believe Mueller is a Democratic plant, and the GOP will just do their “very concerned, but this is a distraction from saving Americans from the heartache of Obamacare” routine regardless. For anyone not already bought in, I don’t think “Trump fired the guy investigating him” is going to ever pass muster. Not after Comey.

            • “Trump’s diehards already believe Mueller is a Democratic plant” because Trump’s supporters have been busy rubbishing him. Of course it’s a strategy. It won’t convince a majority of people. But the Republicans need some excuse for not acting if he’s fired. If they can say “Well, questions were raised about conflicts of interest”, it will be a transparent lie, but it’s something they can say other than “Well, we just believe Trump should be above the law”.

              • stepped pyramids

                But I don’t think they need to do anything for Trump’s diehards other than say “Mueller was not good, very sad, in the tank for Hillary”.

                • The reason trump has diehards, hangers on and fellow travelers is because of the steady stream of propaganda and talking points. “What about Hillary giving uranium to Russia”?, stuff like that, just a fog of bullshit to energize the base and tie other people up in knots. It’s so the Trump supporters on Facebook have retorts that sound just plausible enough to tie people down in arguments about whether the President firing the people investigating him is actually a problem.

        • JamesWimberley

          Will Grassley allow the confirmation of any nominee for AG who does not promise to refuse to fire Mueller? Real not rhetorical question.

          • Ellie1789

            Grassley is now fully in the tank for the Dumpster. Whatever integrity he once had to put country above party has gone with his mind

  • Malaclypse

    Who leaked this, I wonder. Someone decided to rid Trump of this meddlesome AG.

    • twbb

      With Sessions gone we’ll just see a series of acting AGs, I think. Nobody who could get confirmed by the Senate would want the job.

      • NeonTrotsky

        I see no reason why the Senate wouldn’t just shrug and approve some bootlicker

        • N__B

          Mark Penn?

        • Harry Rumbold

          Robert Bork, alas, is no longer with us.

      • JMP

        With the current GOP, a nominee might be able to answer, “yes I am going to shut down any and all investigations into wrongdoing by Donald Trump and his advisors, and still get confirmed 50-50 with Mike Pence breaking the tie. The only suspense will be which Republican Senator besides Susan Collins will be allowed to cast a meaningless vote against them.

        Oh, who am I kidding, it will almost definitely be him.

        • randykhan

          With McCain on the bench, there’s just one golden ticket available.

        • humanoidpanda

          Yeah, but on the other hand, remember when the FBI chief was supposed to be Lieberman or Cornyn, and end up being a “normal” appointment?

        • Deborah Bender

          Nothing to stop a nominee from promising not to fire Mueller, and then going ahead and firing him.

      • alboy2

        There was some speculation on CNN earlier of a possible recess appointment. Interesting how the Rethugs kept the Senate in pro forma sessions to prevent President Obama from making any such appointments. What could possibly be different this summer?

    • Jay B.

      Why wouldn’t he just fire him anyway? Why would Trump need an excuse?

      • Linnaeus

        Not only that, didn’t Sessions offer his resignation to Trump, and Trump refused to accept it? Why wouldn’t Trump have accepted the resignation then instead of going to the trouble to leak something damaging about Sessions to get him to do what he already offered to do?

        • busker type

          see: Strategic thinking, lack of.

        • Snakelite

          When Sessions made that offer, he still had some semi-plausible deniability about the subjects discussed. If these discussions are recorded, everything changes. Trump knew this was coming when he started criticizing him. He was distancing himself, setting up a firing that seems more reasonable than it would have until now.

    • Murc

      Love the new avatar, Mal.

      • Dennis Orphen

        Likewise. Is there a Billy Straycat record too?

  • JMP

    But, because once Sessions’ involvement in the Russian collusion and lying under became public he recused himself as he basically had to in that situation, instead of continuing to obstruct justice in the investigation, Donald has now turned on him as he has just about every lackey he’s ever had no matter how much they grovel. The guy demands absolute loyalty, yet shows it to know one except for the daughter who he has made it very clear he wants to fuck.

    • N__B

      Given that said daughter has not allowed him to fuck her, I’m not certain she will get any loyalty from DJT, push comes to shove.

      • Oh, he’ll fuck her, one way or the other…

      • randykhan

        She hasn’t allowed it . . . yet. (That’s what he’s thinking in his lizard brain.) Okay, kidding. I think.

        But seriously, she’s the Golden Child, for whatever reason, and I think she gets thrown off the boat last. She might regret that.

      • Lurking Canadian

        Ummm…aren’t you assuming facts not in evidence, here? Don’t we need to append “That we know of” to that first clause?

        • Dennis Orphen

          Forget it, Lurk. It’s Trumpytown.

  • keta

    I wonder who will be the first of these shitheels to roll over and give up Trump. I don’t think it’ll be Sessions, necessarily, but you have to figure that eventually someone is going to strike a deal and squeal, squeal, squeal.

    If I was betting man, I might place a wager on someone who looks to actually do real jail time. Mr. Manafort, what say you?

    • twbb

      “to roll over and give up Trump”

      To who? As long as Trump maintains that 40% deplorable support, he ain’t going anywhere.

      • Brien Jackson

        I don’t know…I’m pretty sure that a direct confession of the entire thing from one the principals involved would break the GOP lines for good. President Ryan would start sounding A LOT better then.

        • Shemp Marx

          Yeah, for all the hand wringing the GOP can do, at some point the percentages are going to be good enough that Ryan might make a play. He’s certainly craven enough.

    • dave mustaine

      That already happened. It was James Comey.

    • JMP

      There are rumors that Putin is pissed that Trump has yet to honor their agreement, as he does with his contractors, and eliminated those sanctions, so I wonder if some of these leaks aren’t coming from Russian intelligence themselves, with warnings that they’ve got something golden to shower on the media if Donald doesn’t pay up soon.

      • j_doc

        That almost makes more sense than an actual US intelligence agency leaking this, in this way.

        • JMP

          It now seems like Burn After Reading and Mad’s ‘Spy vs. Spy’ might accurately depict even the high levels of intelligence gathering.

      • catbirdman

        You have to wonder how much leverage Putin could get on Trump by merely hinting at the possibility that the Russians have something on him. I figure Trump’s so thoroughly compromised — just in general — that he probably can’t even keep all his grifts straight in his own head. I mean, who else in the world has 3,500 lawsuits under their belt? I can only imagine the fun Putin has by insinuating stuff that may or may not have any basis in reality and then watching Trump squirm.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          “Donald, I have your tax returns. You know this. I’ve told you before”

        • JohnnyPez

          I think Trump’s combination of shamelessness and cluelessness makes him impossible to blackmail.

          “Do what I say or will release pee tape.”

          “Why should I care if you release the pee tape? Everybody loves me, and anyway that whole thing was just locker room talk. Go ahead and release it, see if I care.”

    • Malaclypse

      Flynn or Manafort are most likely, but I will rethink my position on the existence of a benevolent deity if it ends up being Jared.

      • M.

        Nah that would mean he walks.

        I want him occupying the cell next to his old man’s… and for a lot more time.

    • Snakelite

      If this is as advertised and actually on tape, I’d say Sessions is realistically looking at jail time for at least perjury.

      • DocAmazing

        Along with asset forfeiture?

        • Snakelite

          Does that meet the definition of irony? Seems to me it does. Maybe he’d be forced to liquidate assets to pay criminal or civil fines

      • humanoidpanda

        I really don’t see how a sigint intercept of someone recounting a conversation is admissible in court …

        • Snakelite

          Unless they had a warrant.

          • humanoidpanda

            But the intercept was a conversation between Kislyak and his home base , describing a conversation he had with a third party. Hard to see it in court against Sessions, barring some dramatic supporting evidence

    • Drew

      I think Manafort is more afraid of some polonium in his coffee than the Feds

      • Dennis Orphen

        Q: How can you identify the Russian collaborators in the Trump administration?

        A: They’re the ones waving the Geiger counters over their food before eating it.

    • Roberta

      Flynn, Manafort, or Kushner. One of these will be the Crispin Horsefry to Trump’s Reacher Gilt.

  • j_doc

    Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions…were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia.

    Wait, what?

    0. We’re admitting this stuff in near-realtime now? Not in 50 years?
    1. It’s his account, not the conversation itself, which means either intercepted message traffic or some seriously impressive physical or electronic access on one side or the other.
    2. The Russians, I thought, did almost everything with one-time pads, so we shouldn’t be able to decypher most communications en route. So I’d bet access.
    3. Seriously, we’re admitting this stuff?
    4. Someone with gravity thinks making this info public was worth admitting we have and can read high-end Russian diplomatic traffic.
    5.Alternatively, telling the Russians that was the point of the story. The Sessions bit is just cover.

    • humanoidpanda

      There is also option six: the Russians, who after all didn’t know Trump would win, had this conversation on a channel we could intercept, to add more chaos to the American political system.

      • Yes, to my untutored eye this sixth option seems the most likely; “to add more chaos to the American political system” was, I think, the one outcome that all their various activities could be counted on, absolutely, unconditionally, to achieve. Every other potential outcome (Trump’s winning, a winning Trump’s actually managing to do one or more specific thing they wanted done without fucking it up, Hillary being elected but unable to do various specific things they didn’t want done) was only more or less likely. Why turn down a sure thing?

        • Leigh Grossman

          It’s also possible this is coming from the Russians to maximize chaos. There does seem to be a serendipitous flow of damning information drifting out, in a very similar pattern to the Wikileaks releases during the campaign. A lot of it – like this story – seems like intel that’s really unlikely to leak from IC.

          • WaPo’s story claims its sources are “current and former U.S. officials”. If the “former” part of that’s true and you’re correct, then we truly are fucked two ways from Sunday.

  • Cervantes

    The big story here is the leak. We got a hint of this from Pompeo yesterday. The intelligence establishment is activating the Doomsday Machine.

    • Steve LaBonne

      So many leaks that indeed it seems impossible to avoid that conclusion.

      • Leigh Grossman

        unless it’s coming from the Russians. It’s not like Putin has to give up any intelligence sources to pick up a memo from his desk and tell some apparatchik to email the info to the Times.

        If the Russian plan was to screw up the electoral system and cause chaos, they have no particular reason not to screw with Trump at this point.

    • Ithaqua

      Yes, I think so too. “Oh, you’re threatening Mueller, are you? Well, take a look at… THIS!”.

    • The Deep State strikes!

  • AlexSaltzberg

    Ok, maybe infrastructure technology energy “Made in America” week had a bad opening. And middle. And closing.

    But I’m really confident that “American Heroes” week will turn this around.

    • “So tell me, how do you start a floodhurricane?”

  • aab84

    If this is true, there’s basically no question Sessions committed perjury. I know that’s obvious, but important to point out that the AG is likely a crook.

  • JDM

    We’re past the pumps and the ones with the bows and into the clear, goldfish-filled heels now.

    • Those aren’t goldfish, they’re piranhas.

      They just look like goldfish because that’s not water.

  • Joe Paulson

    If Sessions goes, Trump might be able to choose nearly anyone already in place to be the acting Attorney General. Who might in theory fire Mueller.

    https://twitter.com/AndyGrewal/status/888550684089626625

    • sigaba

      I suppose the Republican leadership could just declare a long “recess” and Trump could then make recess appointments to his heart’s delight.

  • Murc

    I am increasingly of the opinion that Trump’s best bet, politically, is simply to issue a bunch of blanket pardons, then fire Mueller, then kick back and dare Congress to do anything.

    Because the odds of them doing anything are super low, and if they dither for like a month without touching anything, it’ll be out of the news and Trump is home free.

    It’s a touch high-risk but I think he could pull it off. Trump isn’t very self-sware, but I think he has to at least be dimly aware that going big and outrageous and counting on Republicans being weaklings works for him and got him where he is, so why not keep riding that pony?

    • aab84

      I know I’ve previously said the right political play is for Republicans to defend literally everything Trump does, but even I’m not sure he would get away with this. Elected Republicans are as craven as it gets, but that’s some serious threat to the integrity of the Republic shit. I refuse to believe there isn’t a point where even Congressional Republicans decide politics isn’t the only thing that matters.

      • mattmcirvin

        He could take a page from Yeltsin and have tanks start shooting at the Capitol.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Shhhh… they might hear you!

      • M.

        “I refuse to believe there isn’t a point where even Congressional Republicans decide politics isn’t the only thing that matters.”

        You keep on keeping on, but I think you are dead wrong. They had the opportunity to head this Russia crap off before the election and they threatened the fucking sitting President with delegitimizing any actual investigation by going on their fawning media and claiming it was all a partisan witch hunt. They will go to the mat for Trump.

    • Even if Congress doesn’t do anything it won’t be out of the news. The leaks will intensify even further, I imagine, and there will be more investigative reporting since Trump is painting great big arrows pointing at the places where he’s got something to hide. He and his supporters will keep braying “fake news!”, but his support will keep dropping.

      • Drew

        If Trump auto-pardons then I think we’ll see some really interesting rebellion via leak from the “deep state.” At least one hopes.

        • M.

          I’m pretty much convinced that if this were 1965 the CIA would have already MK-ULTRAed some patsy to just blow him away. Obviously we have a much different relationship with the USSR/Russia and a far less reckless deep state.

      • SatanicPanic

        Unless he goes the full Kim Jong Un (and I don’t think he can) he needs some consent of the governed. I guess we’ll find out if a moron with sub 40% approval really can become a dictator.

      • Leigh Grossman

        It’s also very, very likely that there will be a lot of collateral state charges coming out of what Mueller finds. Waiting for the findings probably sinks Trump even if Congress dithers. Especially when all the underlings facing state charges start talking for reduced sentences.

    • Brien Jackson

      That really doesn’t make sense. If Trump issues blanket pardons and fires Mueller he’s gifting Dems the House next year, and then no one who got pardoned can plead the 5th amendment and Trump is the one who’s given them immunity to confess their own crimes.

      • mattmcirvin

        I’m not convinced anything can give the Dems the House next year. Generic House party preferences have barely budged through all this, and the Democrats need a huge lead to overcome their gerrymandering disadvantage. I don’t think most people really connect Trump to the Republican Party; they still think of him as his own thing.

        • As far as I understand it, in the three elections since the 2010 redistricting, the Democrats’ percentage of House seats is pretty consistently around 4% less than their percentage of the total two-party vote. That’s definitely doable, and well within the increase in Dem vote share in the special elections that have been held.

          • Dennis Orphen

            If worse comes to worse, the GOP can fix that in post-production as easily as I am typing and posting this comment. If they couldn’t do that they wouldn’t be acting the way they do. And we wouldn’t have a bunch of unelectable ‘elected’;officials supporting and implementing unpopular policies. And the Russians wouldn’t have the kompromat on the GOP that has them dancing to Putin’s tune like organ grinder monkeys.

            I’m not saying we’re doomed. But continuing to play at rigged tables isn’t going to win anything.

            • humanoidpanda

              I am not saying we’re doomed I am just saying all is lost

              • Dennis Orphen

                I’m saying I want a transparent electoral process in every state, not just OR and WA (maybe a few others) and I want the burden of proof upon those responsible for the transparency, not upon those who suspect its integrity and legitimacy because of it’s opacity.

                • humanoidpanda

                  Why did Republcans rig the election for Trump , but not for Romney ?

                • Dennis Orphen

                  Here are a few of my theories (and everything is a theory, I perceive the world in terms of probabilities and shades of gray, not black and white absolute truth/absolute falsehood):

                  1) Not ready to yet, they felt the country still need to be put back together after the Goodfellas style ‘bust-out’ move of the Bush years before they could come back and start stealing again.

                  2) They felt they still needed to use racism to further consolidate the base.

                  3) They didn’t control enough states voting systems to do it.

                  4) They thought they might get caught (but ABC, always be casing and wait for the right moment).

                  5) They weren’t being helped in direct and in direct ways or being forced to by the Russians.

                  6) Some combination of the above.

                • humanoidpanda

                  So if the republicans control a vast criminal conspiracy that can undermine elections at will, why did they not rig their own frigging primary?

                  People like you sicken me. really and truly, because you make people concerned about real structural issues with US democracy look like lunati- adjacent. And as a bonus, you are also very efficient voting suppressors (how many people refrained from voting in the general because primary was rigged )?

                • Dennis Orphen

                  Even though I sicken you by speculating (thoughtcrime? touchy subject possibly close to the truth?) I’ll continue to discuss my hypothesis with you civilly and in good faith.

                  Why didn’t they rig the primary? Russian kompromat would be my best guess. Also, Trump as POTUS governs

                  no differently than any other generic Republican, so what difference does it make to the GOP paymasters?

                • David Bolenbaugh

                  Q:. Why do people think that voting doesn’t matter?

                  A:. People tell them that voting doesn’t matter.

                • Dennis Orphen

                  And if I don’t tell people that voting doesn’t matter someone will put words in my mouth to that affect? Voting matters. A transparent, auditable and accurate count of the votes is part of my definition of voting. And if the vote is (if, if , if!) vote anyway! It might not be rigged and if it is they riggers should know how unpopular they are.

                • fishieman

                  I don’t know, maybe you should try and we’ll see what happens.

                  You’ve gone from “the GOP can fix that in post-production as easily as I am typing and posting this comment” to “it might not be rigged” in a few posts. I feel like we are making good progress here.

                • M.

                  I think they did, TBH. It’s just that the effectiveness of said rigging hadn’t taken hold (think the WI Voter ID law and the de facto PA disenfranchisement via people thinking that the bullshit law struck down the previous year was still on the books). Various people’s analysis of Karl Rove’s shock at the 2012 returns rings rather true.

        • humanoidpanda

          This is categorically wrong. Republicans won the popular house vote in November. Currently, they are down 10 points in the generic ballot question.

        • Brien Jackson

          Huh? The trend towards Dems in the various special elections this year has been right around +15, more than enough to swing the House.

          • mattmcirvin

            I’m looking at national polls of generic party preference. I’m not convinced those special-election districts are typical.

      • Murc

        If Trump issues blanket pardons and fires Mueller he’s gifting Dems the House next year,

        Does he care?

        and then no one who got pardoned can plead the 5th amendment and Trump
        is the one who’s given them immunity to confess their own crimes.

        Which they do, gleefully, and Congress does nothing.

        • MacK

          Since a presidential pardon only covers Federal crimes and state jeopardy could still attach, they can continue to take the 5th.

        • Brien Jackson

          And then Trump becomes an ex-President who can be indicted and he goes to jail.

          • Murc

            My understanding, which may be faulty, is that a president cannot pardon themselves of impeachment, but they absolutely can pardon themselves of their own crimes.

            Yes? No?

            • Brien Jackson

              My understanding is that there’s no existing precedent for it, but Nixon era OLC didn’t think the President could pardon themselves. Certainly the notion that they CAN is rather absurd on its face, and absent clear evidence I don’t really think either Kennedy or Roberts would agree to that standard. Honestly maybe not Thomas either.

  • I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviar to the SturgeonAttorney General.

  • The Lorax

    OT: major portions of ACA replacement can’t pass via reconciliation.

    • And that’s not even counting the Cruz Amendment, which hasn’t been ruled on yet.

    • sigaba

      Everything’s coming up Milhouse Milhaus.

  • alboy2

    I’m inclined to think that Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is a damned liar, but that’s just me.

  • Drew

    Trump possibly being behind the leak is the best part. Good lord, constantly stepping on his own dick.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Given that his hands are only at the 15th percentile for American men*, that seems improbable.

      *It’s actually even worse than that given the average American male is 5’9″ and Trump is 6’3″. A third of American women have larger hands.

      • jackrabbitslim

        As a 6’4″ male human with small hands (my mother encouraged me to become a gynecologist), I fully endorse the hanging of shit upon Trump for this, since it seems to be something that truly gets his goat.

  • Brien Jackson

    I’m increasingly confident that Sessions is the domino to bring the whole thing down, and won’t be surprised if he has immunity by the end of the year.

    • davidjoseph1

      Immunity? I don’t think Jeff is getting an immunity offer. Maybe a plea bargain.

      • Brien Jackson

        Oh, the first one who agrees to roll on Trump and his family is almost certainly going to get immunity for their testimony. I’m surprised Flynn hasn’t done it yet.

  • BethR52

    I always love to see a good Imelda Marcos’ shoe reference.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Let me shorten that sentence:

    If true, it would fit a pattern of Trump’s complete inability to think.

    • Dennis Orphen

      As below so above?

  • MacK

    I’ve been saying that if Sessions had sense, he’d be working hard to improve conditions in Federal Prisons….

  • Thom

    Others news outlets (Guardian, CNN, Fox) are reporting this in the form, “A report in the Washington Post says ….” The story is not in the NYT at all. I wonder if the Post has been scammed on this?

    • Thom

      However, have a look at Sessions Twitter. Mister “recused” is busy making outrageous statements to undermine the Special Counsel and in general could not be more venally political.

      • humanoidpanda

        The way Sessions made the denial makes clear that the story is correct: he is denying discussing collusion in the meeting, not the fact he talked about the campaign.

        • Thom

          Sounds reasonable, and I certainly don’t doubt that he is guilty as sin. But the way the story has come out, and not come out, is curious.

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