Attorney General Jeff Sessions has faced backlash, from pundits, from President Trump supporters, and from the President himself over his recusal from handling any material, discussions, or investigations into Russian election meddling and the Trump Campaign.
What follows is a timeline of events leading to the Sessions recusal.
On February 28th, 2016, then Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) becomes the first senator to endorse then candidate Donald Trump.
On March 3rd, 2016, Trump announces via twitter that Sessions will lead his national security advisory committee.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2016
In July 2016, prior to the start of the Republican National Convention delegates met to compose the 2106 republican platform. Of interest and much debate even now, almost two years later is the change in regards to Ukraine. The Business Insider reported in September 2017, the proposed amendment, “provide lethal weapons to the Ukrainian army,” was changed to “provide appropriate assistance.”
In June 2016 Carter Page via his testimony on the Hill, (November 2,2017) he says he told Sessions about his trip to Russia. He explains that in “passing,” he mentioned he’d be traveling and he was glad to have met him, “and I just–I’m going to be traveling, but I will–I’m going to give a–you know, totally unrelated to the campaign, I’m going to give a brief–or give a speech in Moscow.” (pg. 103)
On July 18th, 2016 Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, along with a small group of diplomats chat with Sessions after an event during the Republican National Convention.
On September 8th, 2016 ambassador Kislyak meets Sessions and two of his senior aides in Sessions Senate office.
In mid-November 2016, President-elect Trump in a statement, via CNN, say that he has picked Sessions as his Attorney General, “Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years. He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and US Attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”
On January 10th, 2017 during Sessions confirmation hearing he is asked by former Senator Al Franken (D-MN) “if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign what would you do?” Sessions replies, “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have —did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
On January 17th, 2017, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) through a written questionnaire asks Sessions, whether he had been “in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian Government about the 2016 election?” Sessions answers “No.”
February 8th, 2017 Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General.
February 13th, 2017, Michael Flynn resigns after it is revealed he misled Vice President Pence about his conversations he had with ambassador Kislyak.
March 1st, 2017, The Washington Post publishes an article that reports Sessions met with Kislyak twice during the campaign. Justice officials told the Post that his September 8th meeting with Kislyak was as a member of the armed services panel rather than in his role as a Trump surrogate. Sessions spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said, “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.” Sessions called the allegations from the article “false.”
March 2nd, 2017, Sessions tells NBC, that he had no contact with Russian government. When asked if he would recuse himself he answered, “I have said whenever it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself. There’s no doubt about that.”
On March 2nd, 2017, mid-afternoon, Sessions recuses himself. The recusal letter.
Sessions full recusal press conference