Congressional Democrats from Illinois are calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation amid allegations that he lied to Congress about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during his confirmation hearing in January.
Top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are demanding that Sessions resign after it was revealed that he spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the presidential campaign last year.
Sessions recused himself from an investigation into possible connections between Russian ties to the Trump campaign on Thursday, while Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Cheri Bustos also urged him to resign immediately, continuing their push for an independent, bipartisan probe.
“Sessions violated the law by denying his contacts with a foreign government that according to our intelligence agencies was actively working to subvert our election,” Schakowsky said in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney General serves as the top law enforcement official — by his actions, Sessions has violated the confidence of the American public and shown that he is unfit for the job.”
Bustos called revelations about the Trump administration's ties to Russia “a clear and urgent national security concern.”
“We must go where the facts lead us,” she said.
Last month, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn stepped down amid allegations that he had improper communications with the same Russian ambassador about sanctions handed down for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“The President’s National Security Advisor resigned after making misleading statements about his contact with Russian officials — the Attorney General will be held to the same standard,” Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement.
Durbin urged Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing Justice Department investigations into the Trump campaign’s potential dealings with the Russian government, echoing calls for an independent commission. Similarly, Sen. Tammy Duckworth called for an independent probe into the Russian ties, as well as Sessions’ recusal.
“If he refuses to do so or if we learn he lied under oath, the America people deserve nothing less than his resignation,” Duckworth said in a statement. [[415262643, C]]
Rep. Brad Schneider faulted Sessions for refusing to recuse himself earlier, claiming that his misleading statements to Congress “erase what little credibility remained.”
“These allegations, if accurate, are disqualifying, and should compel Attorney General Sessions to resign his position,” Schneider said in a statement, joining the group of congressmen calling for an independent commission.
Rep. Mike Quigley said it was “unconscionable and unacceptable” for Sessions to lie to Congress as he called on the attorney general to recuse himself from the ongoing DOJ investigations while pushing a congressional probe.
“We will do our work in Congress, but it is also imperative that the Trump Administration immediately come clean with who else had contact, when, what was discussed, and what promises were made, if any,” Quigley said in a statement. “Anything less would not just be the Administration resisting an investigation, but thwarting it.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi also called for Sessions’ recusal Thursday, as well as an investigation by the House Oversight Committee. In addition, Krishnamoorthi co-sponsored legislation to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the issue.
“When two members of the President’s Cabinet, key advisors during his campaign have both repeatedly conversed with Russian officials and then cannot speak the truth to American officials about it, we are forced to question who else in the White House, the Cabinet, and the administration has maintained and concealed relationships with representatives of the Kremlin,” he said in a statement.
President Trump, asked if Sessions should recuse himself, said Thursday, "I don't think so." He was questioned in Newport News, Virginia, where he was speaking aboard a new aircraft carrier.