Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III just fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for supposedly misleading the inspector general, but Reuters is reporting that Sessions is guilty of a lie that’s much more serious — one that goes to the heart of the Trump–Russia investigation.
Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting. Then a senator from Alabama, Sessions chaired the meeting as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.
That meeting of Trump’s “foreign policy team” has been portrayed in public as the occasion when George Papadopoulos suggested to Trump that they should arrange a meeting with Vladimir Putin. This was a month after Papadopoulos had been told that Russia was in possession of emails stolen from the DNC and other private citizens, and passed that information along to the Trump campaign.
In Sessions’ descriptions of that meeting, he cut off Papadopoulos and waved off this suggestion.
NADLER: There are reports that you shut George down, unquote, when he proposed that meeting with Putin. Is this correct, yes or no?
SESSIONS: Yes. I pushed back. I’ll just say it that way, because it was —
NADLER: Your answer is yes.
Except three witnesses to that meeting say Sessions is lying.
Three people who attended the March campaign meeting told Reuters they gave their version of events to FBI agents or congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election. Although the accounts they provided to Reuters differed in certain respects, all three, who declined to be identified, said Sessions had expressed no objections to Papadopoulos’ idea.
An upcoming book suggests there could be a very good reason why Sessions lied about that meeting.
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign and potentially a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, told federal investigators that before the election, Donald Trump personally encouraged him to pursue a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new book being published Tuesday.
This doesn’t just put Donald Trump solidly into the mix of the Russia issue, it makes him the prime mover — the instigator of the conspiracy. And according to the book, Russian Roulette by reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, that encouragement to connect with Putin happened at that March 31 meeting.
Instead of being “shut down” by Sessions, the emerging story is that Papadopoulos not only talked about Russia with Trump, but was encouraged to make it happen. And then it did.
The book paints Sessions’ actions at that meeting very, very differently.
Trump looked at Sessions, as if he expected him to follow up with Papadopoulos, and Sessions nodded in response, the authors write.
Sessions has been proven to be a liar on multiple occasions:
Standing before reporters in February, President Trump said unequivocally that he knew of nobody from his campaign who was in contact with Russians during the election. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has told the Senate the same thing.
Court documents unsealed this week cast doubt on both statements and raised the possibility that Mr. Sessions could be called back to Congress for further questioning.
Russian Roulette will be available later this week. But Sessions is available for indictment immediately.