03.02.17

Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Calls on Sessions to Step Down, Special Prosecutor Appointed

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee, released the following statement: 

“After reviewing Attorney General Session's testimony during his confirmation hearing and his statements this afternoon, I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the Attorney General should step down.  As a Senator, Mr. Sessions demanded complete and truthful testimony by those appearing before him for confirmation, and I do not believe he met his own rigorous standard. 

“First, Session's testimony clearly misled the Senate on the subject of his contacts with Russian officials.  Whether he deliberately misled the Senate, depends on what he intended, a matter that is difficult to know or prove.  Jeff Sessions wasn't someone occasionally considered a surrogate, as he demurely suggested at the hearing, but one of the earliest and most prominent surrogates of the Trump campaign.  His explanation for omitting to tell the Senate of his meetings with the Russian Ambassador – that he was sought out by the Russian ambassador at the Republican convention or thereafter in his personal office because of his work on the Armed Services Committee – is simply not credible.  In the midst of a Russian campaign aimed at undermining our election and as a highly visible proxy for candidate Trump, Sessions would have had to be extraordinarily naive or gullible to believe that the Ambassador was seeking him out in his office for a discussion on military matters, and Sessions is neither. 

“Second, the partial nature of the Attorney General's recusal from matters pertaining to the Trump campaign is not enough to remedy his flawed testimony, or to give the public confidence that counterintelligence concerns related to Russia and the Trump Administration and organization will be fully investigated or, if necessary, prosecuted. In the interests of justice, I believe that an independent prosecutor should be appointed to examine whether any counter-intelligence or other investigation warrants prosecution. With the Attorney General's recusal, the Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente should take this step immediately.”