It’s only been a week, and yet it’s ancient history, completely irrelevant, and apparently totally forgotten. Believe it or not, it was just over a week ago that it was revealed that Jeff Sessions lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath during his January confirmation hearing for the job of Attorney General.
In answering Senator Franken’s question about whether Sessions had had any contact with Russia, Seesions said, “I did not have communications with the Russians.” In fact, he had met twice with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
According to 18 U.S. Code § 1001, the crime of perjury requires four elements to be present: the statement must be under oath, material or significant, false, and the speaker must know it’s false.
Sessions committed perjury, the penalty for which is up to eight years in prison. Dozens of Democrats have gone on record saying that he should resign.
Nancy Pelosi said,
“Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. Under penalty of perjury, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, ‘I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.’ We now know that statement is false.”
Al Franken said,
“He answered a question that he asked himself, which is, did I meet with any Russians? And he answered it falsely. He said no. I hadn’t. Listen, I’ve been cutting him a lot of slack. I’ve been refusing to say that he lied. I wanted to wait for this letter to come out. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself.”
It’s interesting to note that Sessions himself has very strong opinions about this part of the law. In 1999, he voted to impeach Bill Clinton for lying under oath about whether or not he’d had sex with Monica Lewinsky.
So, this is pretty serious stuff. Impeachable stuff if you’re a president. Resignation stuff if you’re the Attorney General. Prison-time stuff either way if you’re guilty. This isn’t going to go away any time soon, right?
Wrong. President Donald J. Trump waved his magic twitter over it and made the whole thing disappear in the blink of an eye.
All he had to do was tweet:
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
It only took a second, and the whole Sessions resignation question took a back seat for a day or two, and now has apparently gone away. In its place, the headlines and talking heads are all about various branches of government scrambling in a circus of powerlessness to get some accountability out of Trump for this new craziness. And guess what – in a few days even this will be set aside and placed in the attic toy box of old craziness to gather dust undisturbed.
Say what you will, when it comes to deflection, blame-shifting, and “Trumping” the outlandish with the preposterous and the preposterous with the apparently-insane, the man-baby knows what he’s doing. He’s the best.
Sometimes, you just have to shake your head and admit defeat.