Top Democrats have been urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any federal investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, insinuating that his ties to the Trump campaign make it impossible for him to be impartial.
But now that it has been reported that Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on two occasions during the campaign, they are vaulting beyond calls for recusal and into calls for his resignation. In a press conference on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sessions must step down.
“There cannot be even a scintilla of doubt about the impartiality and fairness of the attorney general, the top law enforcement official of the land,” Schumer said. “It’s clear Attorney General Sessions does not meet that test. Because the Department of Justice should be above reproach, for the good of the country, Attorney General Sessions should resign.”
We can’t recall Schumer calling on Loretta Lynch to resign after she was caught hobknobbing with Bill Clinton on that Arizona tarmac, but we’re probably just getting old and forgetful. Because he must have, right? Otherwise, he would just be…hmm…what’s the word…oh, right, a partisan hypocrite!
Oh, it’s not the same, the liberals will say. And they’re right. In Lynch’s case, she was days away from deciding whether or not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. In Sessions’ case…the FBI has not even said publicly that there is an investigation into the Trump campaign’s communications with Moscow. At this point, there IS nothing for Sessions to recuse himself FROM.
But this is clearly a full-court press we’re seeing from the Democrats, because Schumer isn’t the only one ringing the resignation bell.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that said, “Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign. There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both echoed those sentiments on Thursday as well.
We really don’t believe that these casual meetings that Sessions had with Kislyak were nefarious in nature, and we don’t believe he was trying to hide anything when he said that he didn’t have contact with any Russians. Nevertheless, for the sake of appearances, it would probably be best for him to recuse himself from any investigation that materializes.
These resignation demands, though, are nothing more than political gamesmanship. Democrats want to take Sessions down almost as much as they want the big prize sitting in the White House. But unless they’ve got something a little more substantial than this, they can’t expect the country to get behind their demands.