Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This is not the elf you are looking for....

Yeah, that's what I remembered:

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said he would appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about his dealings with Russian officials.

Sessions, who came under criticism for failing to report meetings with the Russian ambassador, wrote a letter Saturday saying he wanted to answer questions raised during former FBI Director James B. Comey’s testimony on Thursday.
Wonder what happened?

Sessions declined to answer any questions about his conversations with Trump in the lead-up to the firing of FBI Director James Comey, insisting that the president’s executive privilege meant he didn’t have to tell senators anything about those exchanges.

But, as a host of Democrats pointed out, there’s a big catch: Trump hasn’t actually invoked his executive privilege—in other words, he hasn’t told the attorney general not to answer those questions. So Democrats say there wasn’t a clear-cut Constitutional or legal basis for Sessions to refuse to answer the senators. Still, Sessions refused.

The senators wanted to know if Trump gave Sessions any detail on why he decided to fire Comey.

And Sessions wouldn’t say.

At one point, Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, suggested he thought the attorney general’s defiance could be a violation of the oath he took at the start of the hearing to tell “the whole truth.”

“You are obstructing a Congressional investigation,” the senator said.
Except Sessions never invoked "executive privilege:

[Sen. Kamala] HARRIS: You referred to a longstanding DOJ policy. Can you tell us what policy it is you are talking about?

SESSIONS: Well, I think most cabinet people, as the witnesses you had before you earlier, those individuals declined to comment bc we’re all about conversations with the president—

HARRIS: Sir, I’m just asking you about the DOJ policy you are referring to.

SESSIONS:...because that’s a longstanding policy that goes beyond just the attorney general.

HARRIS: Is that policy in writing somewhere?

SESSIONS: I think so.

HARRIS: So did you not consult it before you came before this committee, knowing we would ask you questions about that?

SESSIONS: Well, we talked about it. The policy is based—

HARRIS: Did you ask that it would be shown to you?

SESSIONS: The policy is based on the principle that the president—

HARRIS: Sir, I am not asking about the principle. I am asking when you knew that you would be asked these questions and you would rely on this policy, did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for you refusing to answer the majority of questions that have been asked of you?

That's one lawyer trying to duck the questions of another lawyer.  Lawyers have a name for what Sessions was doing; we call it 'weasel speak.'  It's a highly technical term, but it applies here perfectly.  And Sen. Harris wasn't through, despite the best efforts of Sens. McCain and Burr:

You know, I'm really sorry I remember Watergate so well.  I was also quite sure I'd never see it's like again in my lifetime.  The Democrats sound pretty much the same now as they did then:

Reminds me once again that being right doesn't mean you win; but it's always better to be right.  And patient.

I'm also glad I didn't have to listen to too much of Sessions in high dudgeon insisting that his "honah" had been impugned and he would face his accusers with a brace of pistols at dawn, if they were gentlemen!  Honestly, that whole "how dare you, sir!" shit was worn-out decades ago.  It's not even a good comic routine, but that was all he had to hide behind.  Honestly, the man who says this on camera:

“We are receiving, as you know — I’m not sure the rest of you fully understand — the support of law enforcement all over America,” Mr. Sessions told the Cabinet members. “They have been very frustrated. They are so thrilled that we have a new idea that we’re going to support them and work together to properly, [to] lawfully fight the rising crime that we are seeing.”

As if to emphasize his eagerness to remain on the job, Mr. Sessions told the president, “And it’s an honor to be…

“That’s — that’s great,” Mr. Trump interrupted.

“… able to serve you in that regard,” Mr. Sessions said.

“Thank you,” the president said.

“And sends exact right message,” the attorney general continued. “And it’s being responded — the response is fabulous around the country.”

Has no personal honor and cannot be shamed.

Time to put him back on the store shelf.

(There's a pretty substantial list of just what Jeff Sessions wouldn't talk about, here.)

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