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March 3, 2017

Attorney general recuses himself after meetings with Russia revealed

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  • Recently-confirmed United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he will recuse himself from any future investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and contacts between the president’s campaign and Russia.
  • Sessions came under fire this week after a report by The Washington Post revealed he had met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. twice during last year’s presidential campaign when he was an adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign.
  • “Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said Thursday. As a senator for Alabama at the time, Sessions had conversations with more than 25 foreign ambassadors last year.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have called for Sessions to resign, and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee formally asked for a criminal investigation of Sessions for allegedly lying to Congress during his confirmation hearing.
  • Some Republican members of Congress also raised concerns, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pointed out that members of Congress meet with foreign ambassadors frequently. President Trump said Thursday he maintains “total” confidence in Sessions.
Class discussion questions 
  1. Essential question: What is the role of the U.S. attorney general?
  2. Why is it important that the U.S. attorney general remain impartial during investigations of the president?
  3. Why is it significant that Sessions officially recuse himself from any investigation involving the president and Russia?
  4. Do you think the response Sessions gave during his confirmation hearing about communications with Russia was misleading? Why or why not?
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