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tv   Senator Leahy on Attorney General Sessions  CSPAN  March 3, 2017 1:08am-1:19am EST

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we need a special prosecutor. this needs to be above reproach. there has been allegation after allegation and question after question. his special prosecutor is what is called for and if the administration has nothing to hide, they will not object. thank you, everybody. a little later in the morning, senator patrick leahy, the longest-serving member on the judiciary committee, address the topic on the senate floor. senator leahy: i wondered each day of this is going to happen because every day we learn more about the trouble and connections between the russian government and both president and hisadministration campaign, but last night, it kind of topped everything. a revelation that attorney general sessions met with russian officials during the
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height of the presidential campaign. that raises a new level of alarm. one of the reasons it does is because we know the attorney misled, under oath, the senate judiciary committee in response to my direct question about his contact with russian officials. i asked then, senator sessions, if he had been in contact with anyone connected in any part of the russian government about the 2016 election. his answer was unequivocal. he said, "no." you provided a similar senatorng response to frank to say he was not aware of any connections between the trump campaign in the russian government. -- and those of us, especially the lawyers who have had a chance to serve as attorney general or prosecutors, we know it's an egregious breach of public trust.
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attorney general sessions has now recruiw recused himself from this investigation. everybody would agree that he had to recuse himself. and now, questions arise if he perjured himself. responses report that the attorney general never met with russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. that is an inadequate response. was a topey general advisor to the trump campaign. he had a private, undisclosed meeting with a russian ambassador. think about it. there are reports everywhere about the terms of that russian involvement in th election and thin the united states. he also met with the russian ambassador during the advance of
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the republican national convention. one would think that the republican national convention, it is possible, politics might be discussed. generalthe attorney thinks his explanation is sufficient after he misled congress about his contacts, of course he is mistaken. as a democrat, i think everybody would agree to that. is thet i worry about attorney general is only the latest trump administration attending to mask contact with a criminal. the national security adviser lie to the vice president about communications with a russian ambassador. he only resigned after the media reported how he had lied to vice president pence. even that was weeks after the president had been informed. so, he left only when it became public. and the president's chief of
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staff attempted to use the fbi, which of course is in the violation of the justice department policies, to suppress news reports about russian contacts. as long as i have been here, seven previous presidents, democrats and republicans, you assumed they played by the rules. this administration seems to want to make up the rules. not -- thing is, this is my concern is not just what the administration might be doing. my concern is about russia. there, i believe, strongly, greatest democracy history has known. we are the longest existing democracy in history. and now, we have russia meddling and trying to undermine our democracy. every american should worry about -- every american should
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be frightened, not just concerned, but frightened. it is an attack on our democracy. this is one of the most disturbing national security challenges facing our country. orderedpresident putin a multifaceted campaign aimed at helping donald trump win, but also undermining faith in our election. that should alarm and outrage everybody, no matter what party you belong to. we didn't hear a word about it during the president's speech on tuesday to the joint session of congress. in fact, his only reaction has been to disparage american investigators, to disparage the tntelligence community, to cas journalistic reporters "enemies of the american people." the journalists are not enemies of the american people. russia is the enemy of the
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american people. putin is the enemy of the american people. don't cast our journalists, don't cast our investigators, don't cast our intelligence people, don't cast thoesse who dare speak out as being enemies of america. point to the real enemies, putin and those he controlled. it is about time we take this seriously. i have been here for 42 years and i have never seen such april a threat on our democracy as what we are seeing from putin. my concern is the administration does not call it for what it is. we americans deserve to know the facts and we deserve a fair investigation, one that is free from any political influence. i have repeatedly called on attorney general sessions, one of donald trump's top advisers, to recuse himself.
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said "ithis week, he would recuse myself on anything i should recuse myself on." he said he would recuse himself whenever it is appropriate. this would be a ludicrous response from a law cleark at the department of justice. from the attorney general, it is dissembling. required by very clear justice department regulations. it is required to maintain at least a semblance of integrity in this investigation. the attorney general has to recuse himself because it is clearly in the department rules. he is obviously closely identified with the president due to his service as a principal advisor. that is the rule, whether it is a democratic or republican demonstration.
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it describes his relationship with the president. the investigation has to be led by somebody who, in reality, and in appearance, is in partial, removed from politics. that's not describing somebody who is in the trenches of a political campaign. not something who was involved in the very activity under investigation. and it does not describe somebody who misled congress, misled the republican led senate judiciary committee by his own activities and wasn't located in the investigation. it is not a close call. it is not a close call. we know that russia is doing everything to undermine our democracy. let's stand up for america. let's do what is best for our country. the attorney general should step aside. but then what we need is an independent investigation and
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answers. i thank the distinguished senior senator from alaska for her indulgence and i yield the floor. >> about 170 miles away from washington dc in newport, new virginia, president jump joined carrier andclass spoke briefly with reporters about attorney general session'' alleged contact with russia. >> you still have total confidence in attorney general sessions? donald trump: total.
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>> mr. president, did mr. sessions recuse himself? mr.endi you know that sessions spoke to the russian abbasid are? -- when did you know that mr. sessions spoke to the russian ambassador? donald trump: i was not aware at all. >> in the morning after "washington journal," the subject of a discussion at george washington university. we will be there live at 10:00 a.m. eastern.. back now to newport, news virginia, were president trump spoke to sailors and veterans about increasing investments in the military aboard the gerald ford class aircraft carrier. >>

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