Senate Dems request DOJ watchdog probe Sessions recusal
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Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate opens Trump impeachment trial Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (D-Calif.) and Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall Senate opens Trump impeachment trial MORE (D-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Former Hawaii Democratic governor calls on Gabbard to resign Gabbard under fire for 'present' vote on impeachment 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling for a special prosecutor. 
 
Blumenthal and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request 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 GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads 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.