Senate Dems request DOJ watchdog probe Sessions recusal
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Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Conservative group unveils ad accusing liberals of attacking Barrett's faith MORE (D-Calif.) and Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBipartisan representatives demand answers on expired surveillance programs Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Battle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy MORE (D-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoWarren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Schumer won't meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 MORE (D-Hawaii) on Friday sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, DOJ's inspector general. 
 
The five Democratic senators want Horowitz to "conduct a thorough investigation" into Session's decision. 
 
"We ask that you consider whether and when the Attorney General consulted with ethics officials or others regarding his involvement in these investigations, his contacts with Russian officials, and his testimony before our Committee during the confirmation process," the senators wrote. 
 
The senators also want him to examine any communications between Sessions and the White House about the recusal or any investigation, as well as if, and to what extent, Sessions was previously involved in the investigations. 
 
"Please recommend appropriate action to address any problems that you discover," they added.
 
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The Washington Post reported on Wednesday night that Sessions spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign but denied any such meetings during his confirmation hearing when he was under oath. 
 
The five Democrats argued that his statements to the Judiciary Committee were "at best ... incomplete and misleading."
 
Sessions announced on Thursday that he would recuse himself from any current or future investigations, but stressed that his decision wasn't an acknowledgment of wrongdoing. He also said that his staff had been reviewing, prior to the Washington Post story, if he should step back from any investigation involving the Trump campaign.
 
But Sessions's decision has done little to abate Democratic criticism. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reiterated after his announcement that she believes he should resign, while Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate Warren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Schumer won't meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling for a special prosecutor. 
 
Blumenthal and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSupreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting Warren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Conservative group unveils ad accusing liberals of attacking Barrett's faith MORE (Ill.) — the Senate's No. 2 Democrat — said separately on Thursday that they believe Sessions should have to come back before the Judiciary Committee to explain his conversations with Kislyak. 
 
Democrats, who have a minority in both Houses, have limited leverage within Congress either bring Sessions back to testify or force an independent commission. 
 
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting MORE (R-Iowa) said Thursday that he was glad Sessions was sending the committee a letter but didn't signal that he would recall the former GOP senator to testify.

"I appreciate that he will be sending a letter to the committee, as I asked him to do, to clear up any confusion regarding his testimony so we can put this issue to bed once and for all," Grassley said.