Sessions should resign, says NM Senator

One U.S. Senator from New Mexico says U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign after reports that he misled Congress over his  contact with the Russian ambassador last year during the presidential campaign. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that a special counsel should investigate the Trump administration and its […]

Sessions should resign, says NM Senator

One U.S. Senator from New Mexico says U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign after reports that he misled Congress over his  contact with the Russian ambassador last year during the presidential campaign.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that a special counsel should investigate the Trump administration and its alleged ties to the Russian government.

“Attorney General Sessions’ statements to Congress, under oath, were at best misleading, and that is concerning in and of itself,” Udall said. “In the context of the Trump administration’s lack of full disclosure about its connections to Russia, Attorney General Sessions has raised so many doubts about his integrity and his ability to lead the Department of Justice that I believe the nation would be better off if he resigned.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, another Democrat, did not immediately call for Sessions’ resignation.

“Attorney General Sessions needs to come clean,” Heinrich said in a statement to NM Political Report. “If he committed perjury or even misled or withheld information from Congress and the American people, then he should resign.”

He also called for further investigation into the connections between Trump and Russia.

Both Udall and Heinrich voted against Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Democrat, also called on Sessions to resign and asked for an independent investigator.

“Attorney General Sessions has eroded the public’s trust, and he should resign,” Lujan Grisham said. “We need an independent prosecutor to investigate every aspect of Russian interference in the election, and alleged ties to the President, his advisors and associates.”

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat who also chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also said Sessions should resign.

“It is simply unacceptable that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about his communications with Russian officials,” Luján said. “His role as our nation’s top law enforcement official has been compromised and he should do the right thing and resign. Failing that, President Trump should fire him immediately, just as he fired his National Security Advisor when it was found he lied to the Vice President about his contact with the Russians.”

If Rep. Steve Pearce weighs in, NM Political Report will update this post.

Reports: Sessions met with Russia

News broke Wednesday night that Sessions spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in contrast to previous statements by Sessions that he had no contact with Russia. Sessions made those statements under oath during his confirmation hearing.

Sessions was the chairman of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory committee during his communications with Kislak on two occasions last July and September.

According to CNN, Kislyak “is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior US government officials.” The story also reports that “Russian officials dispute this characterization.”

“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” Sessions said in a statement after the news broke. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

The Justice Department confirmed to media outlets yesterday that he did indeed meet with Kislyak last year, though Sessions denied that the meetings were on behalf of the Trump campaign and denied that he misled Congress in January. In a statement, the Justice Department told media outlets that Session met the Russian ambassador “in his capacity as a senator on the Armed Services Committee.”

Udall joins several Democratic U.S. Senators who called for Sessions’ resignation. Several Republican Senators have said Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russian interference with the elections, but have not called for his resignation.

Update: Sessions said Thursday he would recuse himself from the investigation.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida, said according to Bloomberg, “If he cannot commit to ensuring this process is completed with full transparency and integrity, he should resign.”

A previous resignation

If Sessions were to resign—and it appears that, for now, the White House is standing behind him—it would be the second high-profile Trump administration resignation in less than two months. And both would be over communications with a Russian official.

Michael Flynn resigned last month as National Security Advisor after he told Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect, that he never discussed sanctions against Russia with Kislyak. This is the same Russian official Sessions met.

Pence defended Flynn based on his statements, but later leaks showed that Flynn did discuss the sanctions.

Udall and Heinrich also used the opportunity to advocate for the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Trump broke years of precedence by not releasing his tax returns.

“After these latest revelations about Attorney General Sessions’ contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, it is more evident than ever that we must appoint a special counsel to conduct a complete and independent investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to the Russian government and a bipartisan commission to examine Russia’s involvement in the presidential election,” Udall said.

Heinrich said an “independent commission or special prosecutor” should look into the ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“That should also include a subpoena for the President’s taxes so that we can follow the money and find real answers to what they are hiding,” he said.

Update: Added a statement by Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

A judge upheld the congressional maps that Republicans alleged included illegal gerrymandering, particularly in the case of the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Ninth Judicial…
Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Former New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee finance director Heather Berghmans announced her run for state senate District 15 on Thursday. She is running…
New law leads to confusion over IPRA while some inmate hearings hang in the balance

New law leads to confusion over IPRA while some inmate hearings hang in the balance

A new law that provides opportunity for adults who were sentenced as children to decades in prison to have a parole hearing after a…
U.S. reports record oil exports

U.S. reports record oil exports

The U.S. exported a record amount of oil during the first half of the year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. During that…
State senator will look at geothermal legislation

State senator will look at geothermal legislation

After the governor vetoed legislation to support geothermal energy that received limited opposition from lawmakers during the legislative session was vetoed, Sen. Gerald Ortiz…
Legislation would end mineral leasing in the Upper Pecos watershed

Legislation would end mineral leasing in the Upper Pecos watershed

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján introduced legislation that seeks to withdraw portions of the Pecos River watershed in northern New Mexico…
More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

As children prepare to return to school for the new public school year, they will see some changes after legislation passed in the 2023…
Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Public education is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. The state Legislative Finance Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee released a report Wednesday detailing…
ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

Friday afternoon, a line of people formed outside a room in the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque.  The line was made…
Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tested positive for COVID-19 for a third time. The governor’s office said that Lujan Grisham is experiencing mild symptoms and…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Health officials from hospitals throughout the state encouraged New Mexicans to get vaccinated against three respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. After the U.S. Food and…
US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

Two upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases  this term could impact abortion rights and victims of domestic violence. The high court has not set a…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque needs to expand

A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque needs to expand

A human donor milk repository in Albuquerque has a growing demand and, with a need to expand, is exploring a private-public partnership to do…
Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Tuesday marked the beginning of early voting for local elections throughout the state. It also marked the beginning of a voter education public service…
Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

A judge upheld the congressional maps that Republicans alleged included illegal gerrymandering, particularly in the case of the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Ninth Judicial…
State treasurer fined by State Ethics Commission for campaign finance violations

State treasurer fined by State Ethics Commission for campaign finance violations

The State Ethics Commission ruled that State Treasurer Laura Montoya, a Democrat, violated the state Campaign Reporting Act while she was a candidate in…
State supreme court upholds congressional map

State supreme court upholds congressional map

In issuing this ruling, the state Supreme Court upheld a district court decision and denied an appeal by the Republican Party of New Mexico.
Experts tell legislators about ‘black box’ AI

Experts tell legislators about ‘black box’ AI

The Interim Legislative Science, Technology and Telecommunication Committee discussed how to build transparency into artificial intelligence programming regarding public resources and services at their…
How price impacts individuals buying menstrual products

How price impacts individuals buying menstrual products

Merrill said she started Free Flow New Mexico during the early part of the pandemic because she saw a need.  “I was wondering where…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report