Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe

Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday pressed Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE’s nominee for attorney general on whether he would recuse himself from any probes into Russian interference in the election.

In written questions to Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds MORE (R-Ala.), the senators referenced recent reports by CNN and others that the intelligence community has briefed Trump on a unverified dossier alleging that Russian intelligence has gathered “compromising” information on the president-elect.

Among the allegations in the document — which are unconfirmed — are claims that Trump surrogates had contact with Russian government intermediaries during the campaign.


“All Americans should agree that Russian interference in our nation’s democratic processes is a matter of grave national importance. At a minimum, these allegations must be fully investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department,” the lawmakers wrote. 

Democrats had pressed Sessions on the issue during his confirmation hearing last week.

“It would strike me that this is an obvious case for a special prosecutor if it involves a campaign leading to a candidate who selected you as the attorney general. Wouldn't an abundance of caution suggest that you wouldn't want any questions raised about your integrity in that type of prosecution?” Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Fauci: Lack of facts 'likely' cost lives in coronavirus fight | CDC changes COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow rare mixing of Pfizer, Moderna shots | Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda MORE (D-Ill.) said.

Sessions said that he would “review it and try to do the right thing as to whether or not it should stay within the jurisdiction of the attorney general or not.”

The FBI has refused to confirm the existence of a probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia — even behind closed doors — infuriating Democrats.

“I think the American people have a right to know this,” Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury MORE (D-Ore.) said last week. “And if there is delay in declassifying this information and releasing it to the American people and it doesn’t happen before Jan. 20, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”

In an Oct. 30 letter to FBI Director James Comey, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS MORE (D-Nev.) said it was “clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors and the Russian government,” citing “communications with you and other top officials in the national security community.”

The letter is now believed to be in response to the dossier and its unverified allegations.

Trump has strongly denied the allegations, characterizing them as “fake news” and blaming the intelligence community for leaking the document.

Intelligence officials have disputed the charge. The document, which began its life as a piece of opposition research funded by Republicans, is not a U.S. government product.