Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

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San Diego House Dems want Sessions to resign; Issa pushes independent inquiry

Mar 2, 2017
In The News

San Diego’s Democrats in Congress said Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign after revelations that the top Cabinet member did not disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador last year.

Two of them, Reps. Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, went as far as to accuse Sessions of lying under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing testimony.

“A nominee for Attorney General perjured himself under oath —  twice —  in the course of his job interview with the Senate about contacts with a foreign government that is known to have interfered in our election,” Peters said in a statement. “I ask my Republican colleagues: if that is not cause for an independent investigation and a special prosecutor, what is?”

Likewise, in a statement released before Sessions announced on Thursday afternoon that he recuse himself from Russia-related investigations, Vargas also called for the attorney general to step down from his position for lying under oath.

  "It is not enough for Sessions to recuse himself from any Trump-Russia related investigations, he must resign as Attorney General,” Vargas’s statement said. “There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate President Trump's ties to Russia,”

Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, said that an attorney general who can’t oversee an investigation of such significance is not qualified for the position.

“An Attorney General who needs to recuse himself on an investigation this important should not lead the Department of Justice,” she said shortly after Sessions announced he would recuse himself.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, did not join the resignation chorus, but he renewed his demand for an independent inquiry into Russia’s attempts to influence the presidential election and what interaction that nation’s officials had with the Trump campaign and the president’s associates.

On Wednesday evening the Washington Post reported that Sessions, when he was still a senator from Alabama and a surrogate for now-President Donald Trump’s campaign, twice met with the Russian ambassador but did not disclose his discussions with intelligence officials, and later, during his confirmation hearing.

In response to a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn, that asked Sessions how he would react if the Trump campaign had discussions with Russian officials, Sessions said he had not heard of any talks, and that he personally did not communicate with anyone from that government.

“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians,” Sessions said.

Issa has called for an independent inquiry into the Trump-Russia election ties since last week, and, like he has before, called on Thursday for Sessions to recuse himself from from any investigations, hours before the attorney general did so.

“The news breaking overnight reaffirms what I called for in an interview last Friday, that we need an independent review by a credible third party and that Attorney General Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia,” Issa said in a statement. “We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions.”

Issa, who was a high-profile Trump supporter during the campaign, first made his statements calling for some sort of independent oversight on the television show “Real Time with Bill Maher”.