Editorials and Opinion
[Editorial] Looking for the truth (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 03/06/17)
"Truthfulness counts. Even among our politicians.
Yes, often it is shaded, obscured or even twisted, but a kernel of honesty is a requirement. When it’s not there, liars generally are punished, often severely, as they should be.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions finds himself mired in a controversy arising from his less-than-truthful testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing....Sessions has recused himself into any inquiry regarding Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.
That’s good enough Sen. Charles Grassley, who oversaw Sessions’ exchange with Franken as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley said Friday he has no plans to compel Sessions to revisit the body to clarify the matter.
That’s unfortunate, especially since truth is being knocked around pretty hard during the protracted confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks."
Editorial: Trump's Russian connections require special prosecutor (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 03/05/17)
"The excuses and double-speak matter little. The fact is, Sessions either accidentally mischaracterized his mingling with Russian government officials or, at the very worst, committed perjury. For the second time in as many months, Trump found himself defending a cabinet member for being less than honest about confabs with officials from a country that was actively attempting to handicap the presidential election.
Yet Grassley made clear Thursday that he had no intention of seeking charges against Sessions for the false testimony offered to his Judiciary Committee. The least he can do is assure that any probe is legitimate and not some political facade. ... Sessions' recusal alone, which Grassley lauded, won't do. This flap perhaps should cost Sessions his job, regardless of how "ridiculous" Grassley finds the idea. ... Sessions is the second member of the administration to falsely describe his contacts with the Russians. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's downfall last month applied the heat to Republicans wanting this story to die. Sessions' lack of candor could cook them.... Grassley ... built a reputation for bipartisanship, one that was damaged last year when he stonewalled President Obama's Supreme Court pick."
Editorial: Fifty shades of Faso now playing in Capitol (Times Herald-Record [NY] , 03/05/17)
"Sessions, the nation's top lawyer, is expected to provide a clear example of lawfulness, and Faso, also a lawyer, should know that perjury is a simple concept.
You take an oath, you tell the truth. Anything else is a lie.... Democrats who want to follow the law and follow previous examples of perjured testimony believe that Sessions cannot continue to serve in his important job."
Editorial: Pride, lies and hypocrisy (Kingman Daily Miner [AZ], 03/05/17)
"Jeff Sessions needs to resign as the 84th Attorney General of the United States.
The chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. doesn’t get to lie, and he especially doesn’t get to commit perjury in front of the Congress of the United States."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions must go: Deceptive behavior disqualifies attorney general from position (Watertown Daily Times [NY], 03/05/17)
"Sessions’s tenure as head of the U.S. Department of Justice cannot continue. He should resign his office immediately.... He cleverly evaded a question during his confirmation hearing about contacts he had with Russian officials. And now he’s trying to parse words to make it appear as though he did not intend to mislead senators as they reviewed his credentials for this position.... This kind of deception is unacceptable coming from our attorney general."
[Editorial] Hits & Misses: Sessions steps away (Virginian-Pilot, 03/04/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the least right thing by recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential election. Especially since he should certainly become a subject of inquiry as investigations move forward."
Editorial: Recusal only a start (Boston Herald, 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions got it half right.
Recusing himself from any ongoing or future investigation of the 2016 presidential campaign and any possible Russian interference in that campaign is a first step in assuring the integrity of any probe.
It is necessary but not entirely sufficient in this particular case, which cries out for the kind of independence and distance only the appointment of a special prosecutor can assure."
Editorial Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any investigation into Trump's Russia ties. Better late than never (Los Angeles Times, 03/03/17)
"It long has been obvious that Sessions should play no role in any action related to what intelligence agencies say was an attempt by Russian intelligence to promote Trump’s campaign at the expense of Hillary Clinton. As this editorial page said last month, “Sessions needs to leave this issue to someone else.”... Sessions had said under oath that he’d had no contacts with Russian officials about the campaign, but in fact he’d met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak"
[Editorial] Answers due on any Russia connection (Times and Democrat [SC], 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice talked with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the campaign, meetings that are now being acknowledged by Sessions, though in doing so he appears to be contradicting testimony made before the Senate during the confirmation process.
Sessions and the administration contend he met with the envoy in his role as a U.S. senator and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, yet there is no denying that Sessions was an ardent supporter and policy adviser of Trump’s. He was deeply involved in the campaign when the meetings occurred.... Claims that he perjured himself are extreme, but there remains the question of why he did not acknowledge meetings with the ambassador from the offset.... An independent investigation is warranted"
Attorney General Sessions' recusal far from the end of the story (Editorial) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 03/03/17)
"Depends on whom you ask, but if you watched the attorney general's press conference on Thursday afternoon, you might well have reason to believe that he won't be long on the job. ... Sessions, answering a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, said:
"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."
Well, if you don't count those two meetings with Kislyak, that is."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions was right to step aside, but a special prosecutor is needed (Newsday [NY], 03/02/17)
"As the flames got increasingly higher Thursday around Attorney General Jeff Sessions for giving misleading answers during his Senate confirmation hearings, he recused himself from supervising any investigations of the campaign .... Sessions was a key Trump campaign adviser and later the nominee for attorney general. Yet when he was asked at his hearing in January whether anyone affiliated with the campaign had any communications with the Russian government, he said he himself had none."
Editorial: Sessions gave false testimony about his Russia contacts. He must go. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 03/02/17)
"Now we discover that the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, met twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while the then-U.S. senator headed the Donald Trump presidential campaign’s foreign policy committee. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions gave false testimony about the meetings.... Sessions announced he’d recuse himself from any Justice Department investigations involving the presidential campaign. Recusal is good. Resignation would be better.
Sessions may well have perjured himself. ... Trump should fire Sessions and support the appointment of an independent prosecutor. Whatever their politics, Americans should demand it."
Editorial: Connecting the dots between Russia and Trump’s team (Record [NJ] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions’ performance before the Senate was, at best, extremely misleading, and, at worst, an outright falsehood.... The president must be prepared to make a hard decision about his attorney general if the dots connect Sessions to Russia in conversations about the 2016 campaign."
Editorial: Sessions correctly recuses himself from election probe (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 03/02/17)
"That should clear the way for an objective investigation either by a special prosecutor or an independent commission to get to the bottom of Russia's interference in the presidential election.... At the very least, Sessions' responses during his confirmation hearing were misleading."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions just proved he can’t investigate Russian meddling (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 03/02/17)
"In his mind, Sessions did nothing wrong. The meetings were tame events that had nothing to do with the campaign and weren’t worth mentioning, he says. But that easy explanation isn’t convincing, not when the then-senator was a major Trump backer and Russian intelligence agencies were reportedly operating on behalf of the Republican candidate. Any hint of contact deserved to be disclosed, not brushed off.
Should more damning details of the meetings emerge, it would be time for him to depart. Lying and misleading behavior can’t be tolerated, especially by the nation’s top cop."
Editorial: Republicans, Russians, Sessions (Journal Star [Peoria, IL], 03/02/17)
"Indeed, not only is Sessions now a potential subject of any such investigation because of his false testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing regarding contacts he or others in the Trump campaign had pre-election with representatives of Moscow, he now faces accusations that he lied under oath.... Sessions is not exactly known as a guy who cuts others much slack, and arguably he made his own bed here."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions Had No Choice (New York Times, 03/02/17)
"Sessions is the latest administration official to be caught between his words and the truth on Russia....Sessions’s recusal is only a first necessary step. The second must be the appointment of a special counsel — an independent, nonpartisan actor who can both investigate and prosecute any criminal acts in relation to Russian interference, whether by Mr. Sessions or anyone else. ... Republican leaders in Congress also need to establish a bipartisan select committee to investigate whether the Trump campaign had a role in Russia’s election interference."
[Editorial] Our View: Full probe of Russia links, sans Sessions, needed (Norwich Bulletin [CT] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions' political opponents — as well as some in his own party — are pointing to an apparent lie in his confirmation hearing, during which he asserted he'd had no contact with Russian officials during the Trump campaign. It turns out he had .... Not only should Sessions recuse himself from that probe; it also should be carried out by an independent prosecutor and not the Trump Justice Department.... Meanwhile, if further inquiry establishes the case that Sessions intentionally lied about his contact with Russian officials, he should be removed from office.
Anything less than a full independent investigation, and appropriate consequences for those involved, would be an insult to our electoral process and to the American people."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions, Russia and the truth (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 03/02/17)
"Sessions chose to mislead.
Should he resign for failing to tell the truth with the stakes so high? That would be the honorable course. At the least, the Trump White House now should press Congress for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate fully the Russian intervention."
Editorial: Sessions mess makes independent probe of Russian meddling even more important (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 03/02/17)
"During his Senate confirmation hearings, Sessions testified he had no contact with Russians during the presidential campaign, but the Justice Department itself on Wednesday said Sessions had talked with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak twice during that time.
This would indicate that Sessions perjured himself. He says the contacts did not involve the campaign, but the Senate questions had not made the distinction."
Editorial, March 3, 2017: Why did Flynn and Sessions lie about Russian contacts? (Santa Cruz Sentinel [CA], 03/02/17)
"And say this about some of Trump’s closest aides, they seem to have no problem with lying.
But when it involves the country’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, AND it involves Russia, the Trump-Russia story gets curiouser and curiouser.... Sen. Sessions would have been the first to call for an independent prosecutor.
So, reprising the Flynn question, why would Jeff Sessions have lied about this?"
[Editorial] The Sessions bombshell proves need for real Russia investigation (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 03/02/17)
"It’s becoming clearer by the day that to get to the bottom of Russian interference in the presidential election, we need a bipartisan select committee in Congress, plus a special prosecutor.
The latter is unavoidable after the latest bombshell: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while he was a U.S. senator and an adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, met twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the United States..... Whether Sessions stays or goes, he is entirely compromised on this issue."
[Editorial] Sessions recuses but won't admit his mistake (Baltimore Sun, 03/02/17)
"Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III misrepresented, under oath, his contact with Russian officials during the campaign. No amount of tortured reasoning, no explanation about what "hat" he was wearing when those meetings took place, whether as a United States Senator or surrogate for Donald Trump, no grasping for broader context or how many foreign officials he met with last year changes that.... At best, it was misleading, but it might also be fairly described as a lie. ... we would not object to his departure, for many reasons. Certainly, it isn't clear why the attorney general should stay when National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to resign"
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions misled the Senate. He should resign. (Charlotte Observer [NC] , 03/02/17)
"Jeff Sessions, under oath, misled the U.S. Senate.
He didn’t “misspeak.” He didn’t misinterpret a question. He misled.
He should resign as U.S. attorney general.... Jeff Sessions is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He took an oath before the Senate, then told it something he knew to be untrue. Neither Congress nor the American people can trust what he tells them now. He should resign."
[Editorial] Sessions’s recusal can’t be the end of the story (Washington Post, 03/02/17)
"“I DID not have communications with the Russians.” At the least, Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled Congress when he said this in his January confirmation hearings.... The damning issue is that Mr. Sessions misled senior government officials and the public about his contacts. This was the same lapse that brought down former national security adviser Michael Flynn .... Sessions should appoint a special counsel capable of conducting a thorough and unbiased inquiry into all of the contacts between Mr. Trump and his associates and Russia — including Mr. Sessions’s.
The attorney general promised to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a full explanation of his misleading testimony. The integrity of the committee’s work is now at stake, and its members owe themselves and the public nothing less than a thorough probe."
EDITORIAL: Questions remain on Sessions, Russia and the Trump campaign (Minneapolis Star Tribune [MN], 03/02/17)
"U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under extreme pressure, has finally recused himself from any formal investigation of Russian links to the presidential campaign. It is literally the least he could do at this point and may not prove enough.
The dilemma is one entirely of Sessions’ own making, starting with his decision to withhold from Congress during confirmation hearings that he had met in his office with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — the same Russian official who met privately with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who also failed to be candid about his meeting.... Sessions’ recusal, as necessary as it was, leaves unanswered a central question: Did he mislead Congress under oath? ... Like Flynn, Sessions is rapidly becoming both a distraction and a liability. The Trump administration should not be expending precious political capital defending someone who withheld information from Congress and who has yet to be fully forthcoming. Sessions should consider whether he should resign."