On Monday it became clear that the only option left for Jeff Sessions would be to play the obliviousness defense. On Tuesday it became clear that even that defense won’t have any chance of working. Sessions now finds himself in cascading levels of trouble, thanks to the guilty plea and confession of his campaign subordinate George Papadopoulos, and the relationship Sessions had with Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos claimed in his confession that before he conspired with the Russian government to try to obtain emails stolen from Hillary Clinton, he got the explicit approval of Paul Manafort and Sam Clovis. Papadopoulos also claimed that Jeff Sessions was in the meeting and was fully aware of the discussion. Others were also in the room, so Sessions won’t be able to argue that he wasn’t there. His only defense would be to claim that he wasn’t following the discussion because he didn’t know who Papadopoulos was, or didn’t consider him important enough to be worth listening to. But that just went out the window.
When Jeff Sessions held a dinner for a number of Trump campaign advisers, he had George Papadopoulos sit right next to him, according to a Washington Post report (link). This makes clear that Sessions not only knew Papadopoulos, but considered him to be one of the most important Trump campaign advisers. It means Sessions would have been fully engaged during the meeting where Papadopoulos sought clearance for his Russian conspiracy meeting.
So there’s no question that Jeff Sessions knew full well that his campaign subordinate was seeking approval to conspire with the Russian government to procure stolen emails – and at the least, he tacitly let it happen by not objecting. This makes him guilty of conspiracy to receive stolen property, or some other similar variation of the law. That’s in addition to the perjury he committed by claiming under oath not to be aware of any Trump advisers meeting with Russia. Robert Mueller can – and will – indict Sessions on a smorgasbord of charges unless he flips on Trump first.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report