Thursday, June 15, 2017

John McCain destroys Sessions' rationale for meeting with Russian ambassador

In my June 14th post, I mentioned John McCain's landing a "big body blow" on AG Sessions by asking him what he talked with the Russian ambassador Kislyak about -- i.e. since he claimed his position on the Armed Services committee as his rationale for the meeting, did he talk about related issues?

I had not realized how devastating that was until I read the transcript of that portion, supplied by Kerry Eleveld on Daily Kos.  Let me give you some of that here:

McCain:   Did you raise concerns about Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad and his campaign of indiscriminate violence against his own citizens, including his use of chemical weapons?

Sessions:  I don't recall whether that was discussed or not.

McCain:  Did you raise concerns about Russia's interference in our electoral process or its interference in the electoral processes of our allies?

Sessions:  I don't recall that being discussed.

McCain:  At those meetings, if you spoke with Kislyak in your capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee, you presumably talked with him about Russia-related security issues that you have demonstrated as important to you as a member of that committee.

Sessions:  Um, repeat that, Senator McCain.  I'm sorry.

McCain:  The whole Russia-related security issues that you demonstrated as important to you as a member of the committee -- Did you raise those with him?

Sessions:  No, I did not.

McCain:  In other words, Russian-related security issues in your capacity as the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee -- what Russia-related issues did you hold hearings on or demonstrate a keen interest in?

Sessions:  We may have discussed that.  I just don't have a real recall of the meeting.  I was not making a report about it to anyone.  I just was basically willing to meet and see what he discussed.

McCain:  And his response was?

Sessions:  I don't recall.

In other words, Sessions had claimed that he met with the Russian ambassador, as he did with other ambassadors, to discuss issues related to his committee work on the Armed Services Committee.    But, in fact, McCain destroyed the idea that he had any keen interest in that committee, not holding any hearings by the subcommittee he chaired.   It's unlikely the meeting with the ambassador had anything at all to do with his committee work.  More likely, he had an entirely different reason for meeting with Kislyak.

So what was the reason, Mr. Attorney General?


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