The tide of scandal from inside the Trump administration has shown no sign of letting up any time soon. One of the overarching themes in this tide is, of course, the Russia scandal, with the president long having fielded allegations of his team having colluded with Russia in the latter’s efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
He’s claimed his innocence in this scandal, and you’d think that, if he and his team were as innocent as he’s claimed, his team would be forthcoming and let the Russia investigation proceed unimpeded.
That’s hardly what’s happened. Among the many instances of the president or another member of his team obstructing the truth from coming out is the time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misrepresented his history of communication with Russian interests during his Congressional confirmation hearings.
He said he’d not been in contact with Russian government interests, when in fact he had been in touch with the Russian Ambassador to the United States multiple times.
It’s now come out thanks to ABC that months before his recent firing, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe authorized a criminal probe of Sessions over his apparent lies to Congress.
He authorized the investigation after receiving a letter calling on the agency to do so from then-Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Al Franken of Minnesota, the latter of whom has since resigned from Congress.
ABC notes that what exact steps the FBI took as a result of McCabe’s authorization are not immediately clear. The probe has since been closed, according to a lawyer named Chuck Cooper working for Sessions, reportedly ending after Sessions met with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. One of the sources speaking to ABC claims that the Attorney General had no knowledge of the probe McCabe had authorized into him when he fired him recently.
Sessions claims to have fired McCabe just days before he was set to retire because of a finding that he’d misled internal investigators about his role in a couple of FBI agents speaking to the media about a probe of the Clinton Foundation. McCabe pushed those agents to do so in a reported effort to counter reports about bias in favor of Clinton at the Justice Department; he unsurprisingly claims that he did nothing wrong and his firing is just the latest incarnation of the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail the nation’s system of law and order.
As for Sessions, besides his lie about having been in contact with the Russian Ambassador, he also lied to Congress about the existence of contacts with Russian interests on the part of other Trump team insiders.
Although he claimed to have no knowledge of such contacts, it came out that at a March 2016 meeting that he attended, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested using Russian contacts of his to set up a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Papadopoulos has since pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities during questioning about those contacts.
As for the president, he remains on Sessions’ side on at least for this issue, hailing the day he fired McCabe as a “great day for Democracy.”
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