us attorney general recuses himself from probe into russian
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today

US attorney general recuses himself from probe into Russian

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Arab Today, arab today US attorney general recuses himself from probe into Russian

US attorney general Jeff Sessions addresses a news conference
New York - Arab Today

Donald Trump’s attorney general has said he will stand aside from an investigation into Russian meddling in the US presidential election after it emerged he twice talked with Russia’s ambassador to Washington during the campaign.
Jeff Sessions had been under intense pressure ever since details of the two meetings emerged, the latest administration figure to come under fire for contacts with Russia.
While his decision will defuse the immediate crisis, it still leaves a nagging sense of crisis at the heart of Mr Trump’s White House.
As head of the justice department Mr Sessions had overall responsibility for the FBI’s investigation into Russian hacking and ties between Trump officials and Moscow, and had told his senate confirmation meeting he had never spoken to Russian officials.
As questions mounted, Mr Sessions called a hurried news conference on Thursday to announce he would recuse himself from "any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaign for the president of the United States".
Earlier in the day Mr Trump said he had "total" confidence in his attorney general and that there was no need to recuse himself.
Mr Session’s denial of wrongdoing hinges on whether his contacts were part of his routine activities as a senator or his role as senior adviser to Mr Trump’s campaign.
The justice department confirmed that he twice spoke to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. In September they met at Mr Sessions’ senate office at a time when Russia’s cyber hacking campaign was in full effect.
The other encounter was in July during the Republican National Convention, at a Heritage Foundation event attended by as many as 50 ambassadors.
However, Mr Sessions denied under oath any meetings during his January confirmation hearings. He was asked what he would do if anyone affiliated with the campaign had been in contact with Moscow.
"I’m not aware of any of those activities," he said, before adding: "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."
At his news conference, he said he had been answering a question about a continuing exchange of campaign information between Trump surrogates.
"I did not respond by referring to the two meetings – one very brief after a speech, and another with two of my congressional staffers with the Russian ambassador in Washington where no such things were discussed," he said.
There is no evidence of any collusion between Mr Trump’s election campaign and Russia’s effort to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House.
Yet it continues to cast a pall over Mr Trump, who has repeatedly called for better relations with Vladimir Putin.
Robert Shapiro, professor of government at Columbia University, said the drip, drip of allegations was damaging.
"We are now getting further evidence of how the Trump administration and its officials may have been engaging in a cover-up of serious misdeeds, much like how Watergate slowly unravelled during the Nixon administration," he said.


Source: The National

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