US pres­i­dent slams Democrats for ask­ing A-G to re­sign

New Straits Times - - World -

PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day lashed out at Democrats over their de­mands for United States At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions to re­sign, call­ing their ac­tions a “to­tal witch hunt”.

Ses­sions an­nounced he would re­cuse him­self from any probe into the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign as the White House moved to fore­stall a snow­balling con­tro­versy over its ties to Rus­sia.

Fol­low­ing newly re­vealed meet­ings he held with Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador be­fore the elec­tion, Ses­sions de­nied any im­pro­pri­ety or that he lied about those en­coun­ters in his Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing.

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent de­clared his “to­tal” con­fi­dence in Ses­sions — while adding that he “wasn’t aware” of con­tacts be­tween am­bas­sador Sergey Kislyak and Ses­sions, who was a se­na­tor ac­tively sup­port­ing Trump’s cam­paign at the time.

He de­fended Ses­sions again late on Wed­nes­day, call­ing Ses­sions an “hon­est man” and ac­cus­ing Democrats of hav­ing “lost their grip on re­al­ity” and car­ry­ing out “a to­tal witch hunt!”

Ses­sions “did not say any­thing wrong. He could have stated his re­sponse more ac­cu­rately, but it was clearly not in­ten­tional”.

Un­swayed by Ses­sions’s ac­count of events, top Democrats are main­tain­ing their calls for him to step down im­me­di­ately, ac­cus­ing him of per­jury.

They also called for an in­de­pen­dent pros­e­cu­tor to in­ves­ti­gate con­tacts be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Moscow, which US in­tel­li­gence said in­ter­fered in the elec­tion to hurt Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Adam Schiff, a Demo­cratic rank­ing mem­ber of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, re­jected Ses­sions’s claim that his con­tacts with Kislyak were un­re­lated to his work with the Trump cam­paign as “sim­ply not cred­i­ble”.

“Ses­sions would have had to be ex­traor­di­nar­ily naive or gullible to be­lieve that the am­bas­sador was seek­ing him out in his of­fice for a dis­cus­sion on mil­i­tary mat­ters, and Ses­sions is nei­ther.

“I have come to the re­luc­tant con­clu­sion that the at­tor­ney­gen­eral should step down,” he said, echo­ing calls made ear­lier by the top Democrats in both cham­bers of the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress.

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