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.
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) July 21, 2017
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