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Attorney General Sessions Under Fire for Meeting With Russian Ambassador During Campaign Without Disclosing When Asked

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When a Senator, Sessions Met Twice With Ambassador Considered to Be a Top Russian Spy but Did Not Disclose During His Confirmation Hearing to Become Attorney General

In an article published Wednesday evening, the Washington Post reports that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken with the Russian Federation’s ambassador to the United States during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last summer and fall. He is now under fire for not having disclosed those meetings while under oath.

During his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing January 10, Sessions was asked by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign. Sessions responded telling Franken and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “I’m not aware of any of those activities… I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

A spokesperson for the Attorney General told the paper Wednesday that Sessions was acting as a member of the Armed Services Committee, not as a Trump surrogate, when he spoke with the ambassador, and was not trying to mislead fellow senators when he said during his confirmation hearing that he had not had contacts with the Russian government. 

According to the Post, Sessions had two separate meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, one of which, according to Justice Department officials speaking to the paper, was a private meeting last September. The earlier meeting was at a function last July hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.. Sessions was approached informally by Kislyak and a few other ambassadors also in attendance at the event.

The September meeting occurred during the time period that U.S. Intelligence officials were informing the Obama administration and senior Congressional leadership, along with the Senate Intelligence Committee, that there was evidence of Russian influence and hacking efforts in attempts to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. 

“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” Dept. of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said. She added that the Attorney General did not consider his conversations with the ambassador relevant to the committee’s questions and said that he did not remember their discussion in detail. Flores noted that as a senior member of both the Senate Judiciary as well as the Senate Armed Services committees, he regularly met foreign ambassadors.

Kislyak is considered by U.S. Intelligence to be a Russian spy and a top recruiter of spies.

Flores also added that Sessions was “unaware” that his communications were under the scrutiny of the FBI during that same time period the bureau was investigating the Russian interference of the campaign last fall. 

“If it’s true that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador in the midst of the campaign, then I am very troubled that his response to my questioning during his confirmation hearing was, at best, misleading,” Franken told the Washington Post in a statement on Wednesday.

The Post report has fueled immediate calls for Sessions, who oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, to appoint a special prosecutor to take control of any investigations into Russia’s election interference efforts.

However, some are asking for his resignation. In a conversation Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for House Democratic Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, said that she feels that Sessions lied under oath and is demanding his immediate resignation.

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, Sen. Sessions said “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

UPDATES:

Top Democrats Call for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Resign Amid Accusations of Perjury

WATCH: Jeff Sessions Issues On-Camera Carefully-Worded Denial

 

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo

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Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to an anti-LGBTQ protest outside a Texas church on Saturday.

“First Christian Church Katy is hosting a drag bingo fundraiser benefiting the ministry’s Transparent Closet, a free boutique aimed at helping young people in the LGBTQ community in the largely conservative west Houston suburb,” Jay R. Jordan reported for Axios on Friday. “Protect Texas Kids, led by North Texas’ self-described “Christian fascist” Kelly Neidert, plans to protest outside the church, according to a Facebook event from the group.”

The report noted anti-fascist activists were planning a counterprotest.

“Neidert’s protests have drawn support from neo-Nazis and other anti-LGBTQ groups,” Axios reported. “Men in Nazi regalia and alleged Proud Boys wearing Buc-ee’s masks joined Neidert’s protest outside a drag brunch at Hamburger Mary’s downtown in July.”

On Saturday, Jordan posted a video clip from the scene.

“Proud Boys and Kelly Neidert’s Protect Texas Kids are in Katy, Texas, protesting a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church. PB and Houston antifascists just clashed. Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now,” he reported.

He noted “Houston’s Nazis” had arrived and police formed a line between the two sides.

“The group of Nazis appear to be leaving the protest, sporting for the first time today a flag with a swastika. Proud Boys and Patriot Front have also left,” he reported.

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Image: Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. (Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com)

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‘Pretty Big ‘A-Ha’ Moment’: J6 Staffer Reveals White House Switchboard Called Rioter’s Cell Phone During Insurrection

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On Friday, 60 Minutes revealed that Denver Riggleman, a key staffer for the House Select Committee on January 6, discovered the White House switchboard patched through to the phone of a Capitol rioter — while the attack was in progress.

“Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former Republican congressman from Virginia, oversaw a data-driven operation for the January 6 committee, pursuing phone records and other digital clues tied to the attack on the Capitol. He stopped working for the committee in April,” reported Keith Zubrow.

“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” said Riggleman to 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker. “That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment.”

He added that “I only know one end of that call. I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more.”

This comes after a series of damning revelations about the involvement and support of former President Donald Trump in encouraging the people storming the Capitol.

One of the biggest allegations to come out of the public hearings by the select committee was the claim by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump demanded the rioters be allowed onto the premises because “they’re not here to hurt me” — and that he lunged at his security detail in the car after they refused to take him to the Capitol to join the attackers.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’

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Far right wing extremist, Christian nationalist, antisemite Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, the social media platform that is popular with white supremacists, is telling the Republican Party that “80 percent” of its base is Christian nationalists, and warns them to not “condemn” or “disavow” them.

Torba has ties to far right Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican party’s nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. Torba has also “endorsed” Arizona GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem, an election-denier and member of the far-right antigovernment group Oath Keepers, and election-denying Arizona GOP state Senator Wendy Rogers.

“We have the numbers, we are the majority. And we are done being the footstool. We are going to wake up the body of Christ in this country. And we’re going to do something about you castrating our children, about you sexually indoctrinating them in the schools, about, you know, taking over our culture and taking over our government and sending all of our money to foreign countries and allowing our border to be invaded,” he says in video published by Right Wing Watch.

READ MORE: ‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

Gab is home to QAnon and “great replacement” conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, MAGA and ultra MAGA extremists, white Christian nationalists, white supremacists, antisemites, and anti-LGBTQ extremists.

“We’re done,” Torba continues in his rant.

“We’re done with it, and we’re going to step up and we’re going to rebuild this fallen and corrupt society from scratch, just as Christians have done many times before. And yes, we absolutely are going to get involved in public discourse and in politics, and you’re not going to shut us up,” Torba declared.

“And it’s a message to the Republican party too that they are not to disavow us,” he warned. “They are not to condemn us, because we are 80% of the Republican Party. Christian nationalists are the Republican Party, and they’re going to start doing the will of God,” he says, appearing to order the Republican Party to meet his demands.

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

“And they’re going to start, you know, supporting biblical policies, and they’re going to start, you know, fighting back against this and not being complacent or they’re going to get out of the way and we’re going to go in there and we’re going to do it ourselves. Those are their two choices.”

Torba has appeared on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch show. Perkins is the longtime head of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Last week Jewish Insider reported on an “obscure new book calling for the construction of ‘a parallel Christian society’ to replace ‘the failed secular state'” that seemed to be “performing surprisingly well on Amazon.”

That book, Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide for Taking Dominion and Discipling Nations, was written by Torba.

Last month the House Committee on Oversight sent Torba a letter “regarding your company’s response to the surge of online threats against law enforcement following the execution of a court-authorized search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

“We are concerned that reckless statements by the former President and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers across the United States. We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that appear on your company’s platforms,” the letter reads.

But that letter also said, “On August 15, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with making threats of violence against FBI personnel. He wrote on the social media platform Gab, ‘If You Work For The FBI Then You Deserve To Die.’ He also wrote, ‘Every single piece of shit who works for the FBI in any capacity, from the director down to the janitor who cleans their fucking toilets deserves to die. You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU.'”

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