The morning news blares: Jeff Sessions lied! Said No Meeting With Russians About Campaign!
AG Sessions’ response denies lying. He does not recall what was said in the September meeting with the Russian ambassador and whatever it was, didn’t relate to the campaign.
As quoted by the Washington Post, here is just one question-and-answer on point:
“At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.
“ ‘I’m not aware of any of those activities,’ he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.'”
This reminds me of some of the dodge ball answers given by President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky debacle. More recently, the meeting between President Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch on a plane during last year’s campaign sounded similar alarms. I said then, and I’ll say now: Lawyers are ethically mandated to avoid even the APPEARANCE of impropriety.
As far as I know, Mr. Sessions is an attorney carrying a law license which was issued by a state with some version of a code of ethics. Though not every state has adopted the ABA Model Code of Professional Ethics, every state has something similar or a version of the ABA’s model rules. A Google search found Canon 9 of the Alabama Code:
A Lawyer Should Avoid Even the Appearance of Professional Impropriety.
AG Sessions should have said, “I met with the Russian ambassador in my capacity as a Senator, and we discussed XYZ.” He did not. He has some ‘splainin’ to do. The appearance at present is one of professional impropriety. This does not mean it cannot be explained; but it should, and because he holds high office, that explanation should be given to the American people.
Until that explanation comes to us, we should consider Attorney General Sessions to be on notice that his job might be forfeit. He works for us, and we should consider whether to place him on probation until his conduct improves. We’d do the same for a minimum wage worker. Attorney General Sessions should be held to no less a standard than the average American worker. In fact, because he holds a license to practice law and occupies the highest nonjudicial law job in the nation, the standard to which we hold him should be correspondingly elevated.
America deserves no less.