Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, and it was another frustrating day for lawmakers. During his lie-filled testimony back in July, he continually evaded lawmakers’ questions, citing executive privilege—which means that he is able to avoid answering questions thanks to the president invoking this right designed to protect confidential conversations amongst high-ranking members of the executive branch.
One problem? Trump has never formally invoked executive privilege, so Sessions’ claim had zero legal ground to stand on, as Maine’s independent Senator Angus King demonstrated when he backed Sessions into a corner by forcing him to reveal a conversation he had with the president, then subsequently asked why other conversations are protected, but the one he just disclosed isn’t. Sessions continued this form of evasion again yesterday, and California Senator and 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris—a former prosecutor—is at her wits end with Sessions’ bullshit explanations.
But it was an exchange with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont that stood out. Leahy wanted him to clarify a contradiction between two different testimonies that Sessions gave under oath.
To recap: in January, Sessions emphatically said that he had “no” contact with Russian officials. But now, it’s “I do not recall.” Leahy forced Sessions to acknowledge that there is a very significant legal difference between those two answers, and Sessions stammered as he sifted through his transcript, searching for any loophole that he could to delineate the two answers. He eventually landed on something like “I interpreted the two questions differently,” which should probably clear him from a legal perspective, but this is yet another instance of our nation’s top lawman bumbling around while failing to explain his wide array of answers over the past year as to whether or not he met with any Russian government officials.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.