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Cummings says Sessions should step down over conversations with Russian ambassador

Cummings says Sessions should step down over conversations with Russian ambassador
© Moriah Ratner

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, called on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe to sue Trump admin for defamation, wrongful termination Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos MORE to immediately resign following reports that he spoke to the Russian ambassador to the United States during President Trump's campaign.

“When Senator Sessions testified under oath that ‘I did not have communications with the Russians,’ his statement was demonstrably false, yet he let it stand for weeks — and he continued to let it stand even as he watched the President tell the entire nation he didn’t know anything about anyone advising his campaign talking to the Russians," Cummings said in a statement.

“Attorney General Sessions should resign immediately, and there is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission to investigate this issue.” 

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that Sessions spoke once privately with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He also spoke with Kislyak and other ambassadors during an event in July.

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A spokeswoman for Sessions told the newspaper that the then-senator was acting as an Armed Services Committee member rather than a Trump surrogate at the time and that he did not remember their conversation well and didn't find it pertinent to questions from lawmakers during his confirmation. 

Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump's presidential campaign, to which he later became an adviser.

House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed Cummings's statement and demanded Sessions's resignation.

"Now, after lying under oath to Congress about his own communications with the Russians, the Attorney General must resign. Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign," she said in a statement.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes Top Dems demand answers from Trump over legality of Syria strikes New York seeks authority to prosecute despite presidential pardons MORE (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Trump aides’ ties to Russia. 

“If reports are accurate,” he wrote in a statement, “it is essential that he recuse himself from any role in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to the Russians. This is not even a close call: it is a must.”