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Friday, December 3, 2021

Columns

Sessions is latest controversy for Trump administration


Nearly two months into President Donald Trump’s administration, the news is filled with stories about another key member of the Trump administration having ties to Russia.

Since the beginning of Trump’s term, these allegations have been widespread, ranging from allegations of hacked elections to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being forced to step down because of his contact with Russian officials. While investigation and resolutions on these topics are necessary, it doesn’t seem like an actual conclusion is being reached.

Just last week, it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential race. Sessions was a key adviser to the Trump campaign, and he was also the first senator to endorse Trump. During his senate confirmation hearing in January, Sessions claimed to have no contact with the Russians.

It’s not entirely clear how a senator could just forget meeting with a Russian official, not once but twice. A spokesperson for Sessions tried to clear his name by arguing that the question in the hearing wasn’t clear. The question asked whether the Trump campaign was in communication with the Russians, not Sessions. That is why Sessions said no.

However, Sessions said: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Even if the question was unclear, he responded by saying he didn’t have any communication with Russia.

To make matters more suspicious, Sessions claims he met with the ambassador as part of his job on the Senate Armed Services Committee. However, of the 26 members on the committee, 20 responded that they did not meet with the Russian ambassador as part of their duties.

Members from both parties weighed in on the situation.

Democrats were calling for the resignation of Sessions because he lied under oath. Furthermore, Sessions’ involvement with the Russians meant that he couldn’t be impartial in the investigation regarding Russia’s alleged hacking of the 2016 presidential election.

Some Republicans defended Sessions, claiming that the question asked during his confirmation was unclear and that he was only acting as a senator. Some Republicans have condemned Sessions’s actions and called for him to recuse himself from matters involving Russia. Trump supported Sessions during this controversy.

Sessions called a conference where he discussed the events of the past few days and closed by saying that he would recuse himself from investigations regarding Russia. This means that the investigations will instead be overseen by Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.

This decision seems like the best alternative to resigning from the position. Just last month Flynn was forced to step down because of his communication with Russia, and miscommunication with Vice President Pence regarding this matter.

Since the beginning of the year, the Trump administration has been under attack for its relationship with Russia, and the entire issue seems to be a constant distraction from many other important matters.

While these allegations should be resolved, the process has been extremely prolonged. The Department of Justice should expedite the investigation to reach a conclusion.

That seems like the only way we can move past this Russian consumed phase of the Trump administration and focus on many of today’s pressing issues.

Fariha Jawed is an accounting and political science junior and can be reached [email protected]

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