Attorney Robert Barnes joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily to discuss his post for LawNewz, “Sorry but Jeff Sessions Absolutely Did NOT Perjure Himself Under Oath When Asked About Russia.”
Barnes said the idea Sessions perjured himself was “absurd” and noted it emanates from “the same people who thought Hillary did nothing wrong, when, clearly, she did make false statements to Congress, and the only issue was whether or not it was intentional – and she claimed a lack of memory, I think, 37 different times in her FBI interview subsequent to that.”
He also recalled President Obama promoting former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper into that position despite perjuring himself before Congress “so badly that Ed Snowden became Ed Snowden because of his reaction to it.”
“The exact same people who excused that conduct, as well as the conduct of Eric Holder and two different IRS directors who clearly made material misrepresentations to Congress, are the same ones attacking Attorney General Sessions, who did nothing but answer the question given to him,” said Barnes.
“If he did anything wrong, it was that he was trying to get to the gist of the question, rather than the specific literal question in front of him. The specific literal question was focused on the investigation in general, and he was going to the gist of what everyone was trying to get at, saying, ‘Look, as a surrogate, I had no campaign communications with Russia. There was no continuing exchange of information or anything like that.’ The attorney general confirmed that yesterday at his press conference,” he said.
“The allegation that this is perjury is absurd because it’s not only not a materially or intentionally false statement; it’s simply not a false statement, period. I don’t think any fair interpretation of that statement could say otherwise. It’s only by stripping it of its context, stripping it of the question being asked, stripping it of the whole thing that he answered, that they’ve been able to make this false allegation.”
“Nobody on the Senate panel thought that he meant he never talked to a Russian in his lifetime,” Barnes noted. “That’s the absurd interpretation that some in the media are trying to apply.”
Marlow said the Democrats were effectively arguing that no one should ever speak to the Russian ambassador, not even senators sitting on national security or foreign policy committees.
“It’s completely absurd,” Barnes agreed, comparing it to the House Un-American Activities Committee from the Cold War era, “but times ten, and for less legitimate purpose.”
“At least there, there was a legitimate concern about Communist activity in the country, and there was a real communist threat,” he pointed out. “Here, there’s a country in Russia that’s not really a threat – not like ISIS is a threat, not like radical Islamic terrorism is a threat for the American public – and here they are, taking this to such a degree that now if you’re a senator and you do your job, which is to maintain diplomatic connections, to listen to the other side, to gather information…In this particular case, it appeared that then-Senator Sessions was working on getting Russia to go along with things that would help in the Ukraine that people on both sides were in favor of. And yet somehow that became a bad act.”
“It’s no longer, ‘Have you ever been or are you now a member of the Communist Party?’ It’s, ‘Have you ever been, or are you now, doing your job in communicating with members of the Russian society or government?’ It’s an extreme activity that’s really quite frightening for the well-being of the country, particularly because it has a sort of neo-McCarthyite mentality behind it that’s meant to shame and tar and feather people simply for doing their duty,” he said.
Marlow saluted Barnes as one of the first to compare this bizarrely aggressive attitude towards Sessions’ innocuous meetings with how the same people blithely dismissed Hillary Clinton’s troubling foreign entanglements, which involved large sums of money and actual changes to government policy.
“It took Peter Schweizer and conservative outlets, or this never would have been reported whatsoever,” Marlow contended, referring to Breitbart News senior editor and author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. “Now these same people see that Jeff Sessions had two conversations with the Russian ambassador – not about the campaign, according to Attorney General Sessions – but these same people are now outraged, outraged, outraged to a level that is at a fever pitch. The hypocrisy is incredible.”
“It’s extraordinary, particularly if you contrast this with what happened with the Iran deal,” Barnes agreed. “There you had over 30 senators meeting with ambassadors and representatives of the Iranian government. You had Ben Rhodes admitting to newspapers how they manipulated the press into a false narrative about it. You had ransom money effectively paid as part of the deal, as part of the structure. And yet, there were no complaints at that time that there was even anything inappropriate about it.”
“And now Senator Sessions, simply for doing his job, is being called a perjurer and a criminal and a wild set of allegations against him that simply don’t have any basis in fact or law,” he marveled. “As a lawyer who has known Sessions all the way back to the time when he was assistant United States attorney, he has one of the highest reputations for integrity and independence of anybody in his line of work, so he’s the last person who should have been attacked in this manner.”
“The degree of hypocrisy and duplicity shows that the people who are attacking him simply have no credibility on this because when you say Hillary Clinton should be president after she clearly did commit perjury before Congress, in multiple contexts, and a whole bunch of other cabinet officials had done so during Obama’s reign, then it’s simply ludicrous for them to attack someone who simply did nothing wrong, in the case of Attorney General Sessions,” said Barnes.
Marlow asked if it was a “classy move” or mere political necessity for Sessions to formally recuse himself from investigations involving the Trump campaign, as he did on Thursday.
“It’s ironic. It’s what I always say about recusals, which is the people who recuse themselves have the precise kind of integrity that meant they should have never recused themselves because they are able to be self-reflective and independent and care about the appearance of impropriety. That high degree of ethics means they would have handled the investigation with a high degree of ethics,” Barnes replied. “Whereas the people who don’t recuse themselves are precisely the people who should because it often reflects their lack of concern for how it appears, and how it often is, in terms of the conflict that they’re not aware of or not willing to deal with, like Loretta Lynch did.”
“Don Lemon the other night, last night, claimed that Loretta Lynch had recused herself. In fact, she did not,” he observed. “Nobody ever put an independent prosecutor in place as it related to Hillary Clinton, and if any case called for it, that one did.”
“I will give Sessions credit. It’s not a surprise. He’s a guy who highly values his independence, highly values his integrity. He always has, his whole life. He did what someone who values the appearance of integrity does. He doesn’t want anyone to say that an investigation did not occur, or an investigation went the wrong direction because he was involved,” Barnes said.
“So I’ll give him credit for that. I think he always planned on doing that. I think the critics who think they had to force him to do that were wrong. He was always going to do that. He just accelerated the timetable a little bit to get it out in the open,” he said.
“The person who’s likely to replace him is a person who has high integrity, who Obama tried to remove from that position during the lame duck period, and Trump put him back in,” Barnes revealed. “So I think that’s the reason why the Democrats will now call for another new counsel – because the person that is replacing Sessions in that capacity is someone who used to be in the tax division, who I know, who has high integrity and is similar to Sessions. He’ll only follow the evidence. He’s not politically ambitious, like the kind of people Obama was trying to put in charge in that instance.”
“They’ll just follow the facts, and what the facts will prove. What it shows is that both Trump and Sessions have great confidence that the facts will acquit them, and I think that’s true in the end,” he predicted.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.