Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who angrily defended his honor and integrity when he testified about his meetings with Russians before a Senate committee last month, lied on his Standard Form 86 when he applied for the security clearances necessary to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
Sessions checked the box marked “no” below the question “Have you or any of your immediate family in the past seven (7) years had any contact with a foreign government, its establishment (such as embassy, consulate, agency, military service, intelligence or security service, etc.) or its representatives, whether inside or outside the U.S.?”
As Sessions has acknowledged in Senate testimony since submitting the form, he was in the same room with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on at least two different occasions during the 2016 presidential campaign. He insists that they were all innocent encounters unrelated to the campaign.
Even if Sessions isn’t lying now, he was clearly lying when he filled out SF86. The potential penalty for lying on SF86 is five years in prison. Is Special Counsel Robert Mueller going to investigate the attorney general of the United States now? As Rachel Maddow would say: “watch this space!”
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) July 13, 2017
The image of Sessions’s answer was released this afternoon a full day after the deadline imposed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after ethics watchdog American Oversight sued the Department of Justice. The partial document was only released after repeated requests from news organizations, including National Public Radio.
Sessions has issued an excuse that has nothing to do with the question on SF86.
Per DOJ spox, Kislyak not listed b/c Sessions “was instructed not to list meetings” he had as Senator with foreign dignitaries & their staff
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 13, 2017
“Jeff Sessions is our nation’s top law enforcement officer, and it is shocking one of his first acts after being named Attorney General was to mislead his own agency about a matter of national security,” executive director Austin Evers tells NPR.
An outline of collusion?
According to the New York Daily News, House Democrats have demanded in a letter that Sessions explain whether Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was involved in the DoJ settlement talks over a Russian mafia money laundering case that was put together by Preet Bharara, the US attorney Donald Trump had suddenly fired under a cloud of controversy the previous month.
Related to the Magnitsky Act, the $230 million case was settled for a mere $6 million. Judiciary committee ranking member Rep. John Conyers worries that “the department may have settled the case at a loss for the United States in order to obscure the underlying facts” — facts which may include the movement of dirty Russian money through the Trump laundromat.
Veselnitskaya was a lawyer on the case, a fact which allowed her to gain an exemption from US sanctions in order to visit New York and meet with Donald Trump, Jr. in June of 2016, according to a report from The Hill today.
Belated disclosure of that meeting has raised the heat in Washington this week — and put renewed attention on the Trump administration role of Jared Kushner, who also failed to disclose meetings with agents of Russian influence on his SF86. Kushner has been forced to “update and revise” accordingly. Will Sessions do the same?Click here for reuse options!
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