Jeff Sessions’ response to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee basically boils down to “nuh-uh, you big liar.” Because what Sessions really needs is a credibility contest with Comey just as as reports emerge of another meeting between Sessions and the Russian ambassador.
For instance, Comey suggested that, when it came to Russia-related investigations, Sessions was “inevitably going to recuse himself” for reasons Comey couldn’t share publicly. In response, Sessions’ spokesman insisted that the only reason, absolutely the only reason, Sessions recused himself from anything was that his involvement in the Trump campaign made it inappropriate for him to oversee investigations of the campaign—so the recusal was solely about Sessions’ ties to the Trump campaign, not to Russia.
Again, because it cannot be emphasized enough, we are to believe that Sessions recused himself out of the goodness of his heart for reasons having nothing to do with Russia, and we are to believe this denial on the very same day that Sessions may have had another undisclosed conversation with Sergey Kislyak. “Another” being perhaps the most important word in that preceding sentence.
That wasn’t the only thing Comey said that Sessions sent his spokesman out to insist was false. Where Comey testified that when he asked Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump, and to generally provide a buffer between them, Sessions did not reply. Here’s Sessions’ claim:
“Mr. Comey said, following a morning threat briefing, that he wanted to ensure he and his FBI staff were following proper communications protocol with the White House,” the spokesman said. “The Attorney General was not silent; he responded to this comment by saying that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to be careful about following appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House.”
So … Comey said “we need to follow proper communications protocol” and Sessions responded “we need to follow appropriate policies regarding contacts.” If we believe that Sessions said that, how would it have been a helpful response to respond by essentially restating what Comey said without, apparently, offering any help in making that happen?
But again, this is Comey vs. Sessions. And you don’t have to be a big fan of Comey to think his credibility—particularly as supported by memos he wrote at the time of the interactions in question—far outstrips Sessions’ credibility.