Like London's famous fog or the smog enveloping Beijing, the stink hovering around the Trump administration shows no sign of dissipating any time soon. In fact, if anything, it's getting worse and may soon trigger an increase in gas mask sales in and around our nation's capital.
Last night the story broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a man who's been busy hampering on-going justice department investigations into suspected voting rights abuses and hinting at a renewed war on marijuana, was suddenly back on the political griddle himself for lying to Congress during his confirmation hearing. The ambitious politician, in response to a question from Senator Al Franken as to what he would do if he found out that members of the Trump campaign team had been in contact with the Russians during the campaign, answered boldly and said that some had considered him to have been a surrogate to the Trump campaign and added, "I did not have communications with the Russians."
The surprised Senator Franken said later that he had just been fishing for a promise from Sessions that he would recuse himself from the investigation if he learned that officials in the campaign had been in contact with the Russians - but the garrulous then-senator Sessions had gone beyond that and declared flatly that he personally had had no contact with the Russians.
Except, as we now know, he met twice in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. One of those meetings even occurred in Sessions' office in the Capitol. An article by Tom Lister at today's CNN.com notes that Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States for the past nine years, is described by "current and former U.S. intelligence officials" as a "top spy and recruiter of spies."
Attorney General Session's office now says that he met with the Russians a couple of times, but he can't remember what they talked about.
Is dementia setting in, Jefferson Beauregard? Have you considered seeking treatment with medical marijuana?
Coincidentally, it was interactions with Sergey Kislyak that led to General Michael Flynn's firing as National Security Adviser. Flynn and the wily Russian had been discussing the sanctions that President Obama put in place against Russia - at a time when Flynn and Trump were still private citizens and had no official standing to be dealing with any foreign government, particularly one as averse to the interests of the United States as Russia.
There are currently three on-going investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election - one in the House of Representatives (controlled by Republicans), one in the Senate (controlled by Republicans), and one being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - and organization which is within the Department of Justice - the department headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Consequently calls for Sessions to, at the very least, recuse himself from the FBI probe, are coming in from every quarter.
Several prominent Republicans are openly suggesting that Jeff Sessions recuse himself from the investigation. Those stepping forward include Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (the good folks who spent years looking into Benghazi), Rep. Darrell Issa of California, former head of that same oversight committee, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, goes further and says it is time for Sessions to resign.
Can you hear that music drifting over from the Capitol, Jefferson Beauregard? It's the theme from Jaws!
And Donald, you might do well to remember that it took Richard Nixon more than five years to bring this level of stink into Washington, DC, and your team has pulled it off in just under six weeks. That's huuuge!