WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined a growing number of his party’s leadership by calling on Thursday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign from his post.
“Because the Department of Justice should be above reproach for the good of the country, Attorney General Sessions should resign,” Schumer said. “But, whatever one’s views are on resignation, the most important thing we must do is ensure the integrity of the investigation.”
Two days earlier, Schumer stated, “I don’t see any place” Democrats can with work President Donald Trump.
Several Democrats and some Republicans have called for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election following the revelation he communicated with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign.
“It would be of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality if this administration were to sanction him to investigate himself,” Schumer said. “Recusal should have been given. But this goes beyond that.” He added, “Attorney General Sessions had weeks to correct the record that he made before the Judiciary Committee. But he let the record stand.”
In addition to demanding the attorney general’s resignation, Schumer called for three things.
First, he called for the DOJ to “immediately appoint a special prosecutor. Given that Attorney General Session’s impartiality is compromised, that responsibility will fall to the acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente,” an Obama appointee.
Second, Schumer cited a law created as the result of the Watergate scandal under President Nixon. He said that if he feels the DOJ is too slow “and refuses to appoint a special prosecutor or selects someone with insufficient independence, we will then urge Sen. McConnell and Speaker Ryan to work with Democrats to create a new and improved version of the Independent Council Law.”
That law would grant a three-judge panel the authority to appoint an independent council.
Lastly, he said the DOJ inspector General “must immediately” begin an investigation into Sessions’ involvement in the matter “to discover if the investigation has already been compromised.”
Asked by a reporter why Schumer did not think it was good enough for Sessions to recuse himself and why called for Sessions to resign instead of just allowing him to recuse himself, he said that “already his integrity has been questioned. It would better for the country if he resigns, but let’s get an investigation going.”
He later added that “there is nothing inappropriate with a senator meeting with a Russian ambassador. There is something very inappropriate to dramatically mislead Congress. He said he didn’t remember, afterwards. But it was in the record for weeks afterwards.”
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have similarly called for Sessions to resign. Pelosi has even accused him of “lying under oath.” However, when another reporter asked if he thinks Sessions committed perjury in his testimony, he said, “I am not a legal expert on perjury, and I leave that to the experts. It was definitely extremely misleading, to say the least as to what he did.” Schumer suggested, “if the next day he would have said, ‘I forgot and here’s what I said,’ it’s a lot different than letting the record stand.”
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), said a Washington Post report on Wednesday alleging Sessions failed to disclose meeting with Russian officials in his AG confirmation hearing was nothing more than “political theater.” Cruz also called the meeting a “nothing burger.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said there’s nothing Sessions needs to recuse himself of. In an interview with Fox News, Spicer said Sessions was “100 percent straight with the committee and I think that people who are choosing to play partisan politics with this should be ashamed of themselves.”
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 2, 2017
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