shouldn’t we be calling the sessions-kislyak affair “sessionsgate” by now?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

WE ARE NOW deep into an af­fair that should have been termed ei­ther Ses­sion­s­gate or Am­bas­sador­gate by our main­stream media. Ever clever with such trite coinages when a De­mo­crat is in­volved, At­torney Gen­eral Ses­sions and Pres­i­dent Trump have somehow avoided having their trans­gres­sion ren­dered in a manner that sug­gest the felonies of the Nixon ad­min­is­tra­tion of 1972-1973.

But let’s take a mo­ment and take a look at an­other mo­ment from Jan­uary 10, 2017: at a Senate Ju­di­ciary Com­mittee con­fir­ma­tion hearing, Sen­ator Al Franken asked Sen­ator Jeff Ses­sions 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. Mr Ses­sions responded:

“I’m not aware of any of those ac­tiv­i­ties. I have been called a sur­ro­gate at a time or two in that cam­paign and I did not have com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Russians.”

This, of course, was a lie: Ses­sions had two pri­vate meet­ings with the Russian Am­bas­sador to the United States Sergey Kislyak—one in July, and one in Sep­tember. 1


Sessionsgate: cartoon of Jeff Sessions by Glenn McCoy.

As usual, Rep*blicans ap­pear to think that any breach of ethics or law by a fellow Rep*blican is not re­ally a breach of ethics or law, but merely the DLM (damn li­brull media) making much ado about nothing. For­tu­nately, this means we won’t have to en­dure eight re­dun­dant and point­less Con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Ses­sion­s­gate. (Car­toon by Glenn McCoy of the Belleville News-Democrat.)

Where have all the witnesses gone, long time passing

So, I have a ques­tion that doesn’t seem to be a promi­nent part of the media and public con­ver­sa­tion about this whole af­fair. But first, a few things we know to be so:

• Jef­ferson Beau­re­gard “Jeff” Ses­sions III was the United States Sen­ator from the state of Al­abama for ten years (1997-2017).

• In Sep­tember 2016, during the height of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Ses­sions en­ter­tained Kislyak in the senator’s of­fice in Wash­ington, DC, for a “pri­vate conversation.”

• At the time of this meeting, Ses­sions was a se­nior member of the in­flu­en­tial Armed Ser­vices Com­mittee in the Senate.

• At the time of this meeting, Ses­sions had a promi­nent role sup­porting Donald Trump after for­mally joining Trump’s cam­paign in Feb­ruary 2016.


I did not have sexual re­la­tions with that Russian ambassador!


There’s prob­ably more, but that should suf­fice for back­ground on my ques­tion. There is simply no set of cir­cum­stances under which I will even en­ter­tain the pos­si­bility that a US Sen­ator and the Am­bas­sador of any other na­tion met any­where let alone in and the FBI and the CIA did not know it was happening.

And, as it did happen in the po­lit­ical hotspot of the world, where there are prob­ably more jour­nal­ists, re­porters, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors per square mile than any­where else on the planet, I have to as­sume that it was known by more than a few promi­nent mem­bers of “the media.”


Sessionsgate: cartoon of Donald Trump by Kevin Siers.

Not co­in­ci­den­tally, since Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, FBI Di­rector Comey’s ap­parent abuse of his role in making a public an­nounce­ment of what proved yet an­other non-event (a ver­sion if an al­ter­na­tive fact, per­haps?) in a day in the life of Hillary Clinton to af­fect the out­come of the elec­tion has been swept under the rug. (Car­toon by Kevin Siers for The Char­lotte Observer.)

Now for my question(s) on Sessionsgate

So, here’s my ques­tion: How did the mem­bers of the Senate Ju­di­ciary Com­mittee NOT know about the Sessions-Kislyak re­la­tion­ship prior to in­ter­viewing Ses­sions in January?

Of course, what­ever the an­swer to that ques­tion, more ques­tions follow! Weren’t Sen­ator Franken and his fellow com­mittee mem­bers briefed by the FBI or even tipped off by an alert jour­nalist to these not-so-clandestine meeting?

Was there no vet­ting of the can­di­date prior to the interview?

As the old man says at the final scene around the Cas­torini fam­i­ly’s kitchen table in Moon­struck, “I’m con­fused . . .” 2

Shouldn’t the media be calling the Sessions-Kisylak af­fair “Ses­sion­s­gate” by now? Click To Tweet

Sessions caric Brodner

FEATURED IMAGE: The car­i­ca­ture at the top of this page is by Steve Brodner. It’s ac­tu­ally a rather kind por­trait, given the artist’s words con­cerning Ses­sions as a man and a politician.



1   If this and other re­cent shenani­gans had oc­curred under a Clinton or Obama, not only we would be calling it Am­bas­sador­gate or Ses­sion­s­gate, we would also be dis­cussing Al­ter­na­tive­fact­gate for a con­cur­rent White House mess.

2   I al­ways hear the old man say, “I’m a-confused,” which sounds more East Coast Italianese.

3   Fi­nally, I will close with a nos­talgic mo­ment: re­member the good ol’ days when all con­ser­v­a­tives thought that all Rus­sians were evil commie bas­tards trying to pol­lute our pre­cious bodily fluids and that everyone was better off dead than red?


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