Democratic Maryland politicians are calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down after it was revealed he met with the Russian ambassador twice during the presidential campaign and did not disclose the meetings during his Senate confirmation hearing.
The Justice Department on Wednesday alleged Sessions had communicated with Russia’s ambassador last year. Sessions has since announced that he will recuse himself from any 2016 campaign-related investigations.
Sessions said during a Jan. 10 Senate confirmation hearing that he “did not have communications with the Russians” and was unable to comment on any possible communication between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Reps. Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown, who each represent part of College Park, have both called for Sessions to resign.
Hoyer wrote in a statement that “it is insufficient for Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself from any matters concerning the presidential campaign. … His actions have cast a dark cloud of doubt over the department he now leads.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland’s 7th District and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a statement Wednesday that Sessions provided testimony that was “demonstrably false.” District 8 Rep. Jamie Raskin also called for Sessions to step down on Thursday, writing in a statement that Sessions’ “alarming conflict of interest and startling failure to tell the truth” disqualified him from serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned on Feb. 13 after misleading Vice President Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
“It is inconceivable that even after Michael Flynn was fired for concealing his conversations with the Russians that Attorney General Sessions would keep his own conversations secret for several more weeks,” Cummings wrote. “Attorney General Sessions should resign immediately, and there is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission to investigate this issue.”
Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote in a statement Thursday that Sessions should be placed under oath again, this time to “determine exactly how many conversations took place, when they happened, and what was discussed.”
“The Attorney General holds a special position as top law enforcement officer in our country,” Van Hollen wrote. “Anyone serving in that position must have the confidence of the American people to be an honest and independent broker who protects the fundamentals of our democracy.”
Van Hollen also spoke out against Sessions in January, when the Democratic senator raised concern over Sessions’ views on immigration, civil rights and voting rights, women’s rights, those with disabilities and the LGBT community.
“The Attorney General must be the people’s lawyer and be zealous in the pursuit of justice for all Americans,” Van Hollen wrote in a statement Jan. 19. “I am not convinced that [Sessions] will be a vigorous defender of the rights of all Americans, especially those who have fallen victim to the powerful or the status quo.”