Jeff Sessions’ Recusal Not Enough He Must Resign as Attorney General

Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” this morning, Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) repeated his demand of yesterday that Jeff Sessions must provide “a credible explanation” or resign. Blumenthal told Alisyn Camerota that,

“He knew as a prosecutor that words matter when you testify under oath and I want to know from him why he falsely denied that he had that meeting.”

Watch courtesy of CNN:

Alisyn Camerota: He has recused himself from any of the investigations into any Russian ties with the Trump campaign. Do you want him to resign?
Dick Blumenthal: If he fails to provide us a credible explanation? I think he has to resign. Because he had to have known when he testified before our committee that this question would arise, had to be prepared for it, and his false denial, I think, requires him to resign unless he has a credible explanation. I don’t know what that explanation could possibly be.

Blumenthal wants a special prosecutor and he hopes that Republicans, who eventually supported recusal, can be brought around to demanding Sessions’ resignation.

Beyond what else might still lie hidden, there is more than just Session’s trustworthiness to consider here too. Blumenthal told Camerota that, “Recusal means he takes himself out of the investigation” but that is not entirely accurate.

Without Sessions’ resignation, as explained in a memo sent to PoliticusUSA by Adam Jentleson, Senior Strategic Advisor, Center for American Progress Action Fund,

No matter how you cut it, a political appointee would be in charge. Sessions’ recusal alone just leaves Acting Deputy Attorney General Boente supervising the investigation for now. As Acting Attorney General, he is still taking orders from the Trump White House and free under the law to direct or suppress certain activities, such as the issuing of subpoenas, by DOJ lawyers. Should Boente also have to recuse himself for any reason, the same would be the case for any political appointee who might fill in due to the recusals. Thus, only a truly independent special counsel could ensure the Trump administration can’t bury or obstruct the investigation.

This is serious, because as Jentleson also points out, even recused, Sessions “has the sole discretion to select and appoint a “special counsel.” Far from taking himself out of the equation, Sessions is still very much able to protect both himself and Donald Trump from any investigation he undertakes.

Blumenthal is right. Sessions must provide a credible explanation for his lie – and the suggestion that he misunderstood the question or instead relying on Trump’s claim that he could have been “more accurate” isn’t sufficient – or he must resign.