After a hearing ripe with Attorney General Jeff Sessions claiming, “I don’t recall” at least twenty times by Rep. Jeffries’ count, the Democrat put Sessions on the spot by asking, “Do you still believe the intentional failure to remember can constitute a criminal act?”
“If it’s an act to deceive, yes,” Sessions responded in testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
On Sessions' "I don't recall" answers, @RepJeffries asks: "Do you still believe the intentional failure to remember can constitute a criminal act?"
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 14, 2017
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) pushed Sessions on his memory, reminding him that he said Clinton not remembering something could be criminal. He claimed Sessions had said “I do not recall” “at least 20 times” by that point in the hearing.
The point Jeffries was getting to is whether or not Jeff Sessions will hold himself to the same standard as he has others during his entire career. That is, his belief that the intentional failure to remember can constitute a criminal act.
Jeffries recounted that in his past, Sessions prosecuted a young police officer for perjury and said that former President Bill Clinton should be held to the same standard as this young police officer.
In 1999, Sessions said during a TV interview that he was concerned about a president appearing to lie “under oath” and that “no one is above the law”.
That lie, of course, was about a consensual sexual relationship that involved disparity in power, whereas AG Sessions is accused of lying about the Trump campaign’s contacts and meetings with Russian officials and agents.
Sessions acknowledged today the meeting with George Papadopoulos during which he suggested a meeting between Trump and Russian officials, a hostile foreign power that attacked the United States and western democracy by interfering in our election – that he previously claimed to not remember.
Sessions was under oath in today’s House hearing. During his January Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions claimed he was unaware of communications between the campaign and Russia.
Jeffries was getting to the moment where he brought up that other P word that so haunts Republicans right now- not Putin or Patriotism or Pedophilia or Predator, but Perjury.
This suggestion riled the previously smirking Republican AG, who responded, “You’re accusing me of lying about that? I would say that’s not fair!”
Sessions appeared to want credit for pushing back on the suggestion of Trump meeting with Russia that took place during a meeting that he previously did not recall. That would be this meeting:
It is hard to sell not recalling a meeting that was not only held in March of 2016, but a picture of which was used and distributed by the Trump campaign itself. And a meeting during which a person who has now admitted lying to the FBI suggested that presidential candidate Donald Trump meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sessions claimed earlier in the hearing that he “always told the truth” about Russia. But if he is held to his own legal standard for others, this is simply not accurate, and that is why he got so riled up when Jeffries went there.
By Sessions’ admission today, if the intentional failure to recall is an attempt to deceive, it’s a criminal act.