Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified, once again, on Capitol Hill Tuesday. As was anticipated, much of the focus was on alleged collusion between the election campaign of President Donald Trump and Russian officials. The takeaways from the hearing are that certain facts never change. Additionally, Sessions hasn’t moderated his refusal to confirm or deny the existence of ongoing Department of Justice investigations.
Notably, Sessions appeared to leave the door open to further investigations into the unmasking by the Obama Administration of American citizens connected to the Trump campaign. He remained tight-lipped about the Uranium One scandal but acknowledged that he has the authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter.
Desperate Democrats Grow Hostile
The accusations of sexual misconduct made against Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore came up briefly. Sessions stated that he had no reason not to believe the women who have come forward to accuse Moore. Asked about potential Department of Justice involvement, the Attorney General said that such matters are normally handled at the state level.
The Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee almost exclusively followed the same playbook. With one exception, they were confrontational nearly to the point of belligerence. They attempted to solidify two main conclusions; that members of the president’s election campaign were involved in ongoing “campaign contacts” with Russian officials and that the Attorney General had previously perjured himself regarding such matters.
For his part, Sessions hit back against his interrogators were great resolve. He pointed out that, where he had previously denied any knowledge of – and had not participated in – any “campaign contacts” with the Russians, he did not specifically recall every mention of Russia. The Democratic members of the committee pressed the same point repeatedly; that Sessions had omitted, from his previous testimony, knowledge of contacts between the campaign and Russian government agents.
Facts Are Facts and Law is Law
The Attorney General conceded that, due to the sometimes chaotic machinations of the campaign, he was not always able to recollect every mention of such contacts. He now acknowledges that campaign advisor George Papadopoulos had suggested establishing communications with Russian officials. Sessions noted that he “pushed back” against the suggestion, saying Papadopoulos had no authority to represent the campaign in such a way.Presidents Trump and Putin shaking hands – not necessarily collusion
Despite the verbal judo engaged in by Democrats, the specter of collusion with Russia failed, yet again, to materialize. Certain realities remain the same: Not every encounter with a member of the Russian government can be described as collusion to subvert the result of an election. Unsuccessful attempts by a particular individual to establish contacts with the Russian government does not constitute proof of conspiracy. And not every encounter between any Trump associate and any Russian official is an attempt to influence the election.
Most importantly, collusion itself is not a crime; the mere attempt is even less so. There remains no evidence of the former and only one established example of the latter which, itself, was never officially sanctioned by the Trump campaign. The Democrats continue promoting a false narrative that there is a legal definition and that even attempted collusion constitutes a crime.
The wily Sessions continues to confound Democrats. He does so by pointing out that, while he does not possess a faultless memory, he has never deliberately concealed knowledge of any Russian plot and, to this day, is unaware of any. He also continues to note that meeting with highly-placed Russian officials in his former capacity as a Senator has nothing to do with attempts to influence election campaigns.