Thursday, May 25, 2017

AG Jeff Sessions Lied About Russia Meetings in Security Clearance Form

Trump and Jeff Sessions
As noted in prior posts, I have been acquainted with former Senator and now U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions since my days in Alabama in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The man was foul and reprehensible then and he is equally so now.   Here's what I said about Sessions back in early February:
While I was still living in Mobile, a 19 year old black man named Michael Donald was murdered in what was the last recorded lynching in the United States. Several Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members beat and killed Michael Donald, and hanged his body from a tree.  Session's office did not prosecute the case, but both men were arrested and convicted.  Subsequently, due to the efforts of Thomas Figures, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Mobile, FBI agent James Bodman, and Michael Figures, a state senator and civil rights activist, the killers were ultimately arrested over two and a half years after the murder and were prosecuted, with one receiving the death penalty. After dropping the ball on the Donald case, Sessions prosecuted three black community organizers in the Black belt of Alabama, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s former aide Albert Turner, for voter fraud, alleging tampering with 14 absentee ballots. The prosecution stirred charges of selective prosecution of black voter registration. The defendants, known as the Marion Three, were acquitted of all charges by a jury.

In addition to being a racist, Sessions is also a virulent homophobe and, as CNN reports, a liar. Specifically, when Sessions submitted forms for his top security clearance, Sessions lied about every having meet with Russian intelligence and other Russian government officials.  Here are article excerpts:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday.
Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn't note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list "any contact" he or his family had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said.
The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials. He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year.
A legal expert who regularly assists officials in filling out the form disagrees with the Justice Department's explanation, suggesting that Sessions should have disclosed the meetings.
"My interpretation is that a member of Congress would still have to reveal the appropriate foreign government contacts notwithstanding it was on official business," said Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who specializes in national security law.
Zaid added that in a similar circumstance he advised a member of Congress to list all foreign contacts -- including those made during official US government business.
To obtain a security clearance, a federal official is not required to list the meetings if they were part of a foreign conference he or she attended while conducting government business. Sessions' meetings, however, do not appear to be tied to foreign conferences.
The omission comes after problems that Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the President's ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, have had on their own security forms. Kushner prematurely submitted his SF-86 form without listing foreign contacts and had to notify the FBI the next day that he was willing to provide the information. Flynn is under investigation for not properly disclosing payments linked to Russia for his foreign trips.
Lawmakers have raised questions about Sessions' meetings with Russian officials while he played a prominent role in the Trump campaign -- meetings that he only disclosed after The Washington Post revealed them. He is under scrutiny as well for his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey despite his recusal from the Russia investigation.
At his confirmation hearing January 10, Sessions testified that he "did not have communications" with the Russians during the campaign. He made the same assertion in an official questionnaire.
Lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees say it is possible that Sessions could be questioned about those meetings and his role in the campaign -- as well as the circumstances around the Comey firing.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the judiciary committee, called for Sessions to testify publicly after the news of Sessions' omissions broke. On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Blumenthal said that the news requires "intense and immediate investigation."

Sessions, of course, claims to be a  devout Christian - even though lying, refusing to prosecute KKK killers and racial bigotry don't exactly conform to Christ's gospel message. 

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