- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer threw his weight behind the push Thursday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and a special prosecutor appointed to investigate ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian spies.

Mr. Schumer said Mr. Sessions’ credibility as the country’s top law enforcement official had been undermined by revelations that he met with the Russian ambassador during the presidential race and then failed to disclose it when asked during confirmation hearings.

“I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach,” the New York Democrat said of his reaction to the news that broke Wednesday night. “It goes to the very wellspring of our democracy.”

He joined other top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in calling for Mr. Session’s resignation.

Mr. Schumer demanded the appointment of a special prosecutor and the launch of a investigation by the Justice Department inspector general into ties between the Trump administration and Russia.

If the administration refuses, he said, the Republican-run Congress should revive the law to create an independent counsel to do the job.

Mr. Schumer said an investigation “must assess if agents of [the Russian] government have penetrated to the highest levels of our government.”

The FBI is currently investigating Russian email hacking during the presidential campaign that intelligence officials determined was intended to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and therefor benefited Mr. Trump.

The House and Senate intelligence committees also are investigating Russian interference in the election.

Previous reports citing anonymous sources alleged “constant” communication between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence agents, but no evidence of such activity has emerged.

Mr. Sessions has denied he did anything wrong and maintains that his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was not part of political campaign but in his role as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Sessions met Mr. Kislyak once at his Senate office in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a second time in a group setting with other ambassadors following a Heritage Foundation speech, according to the Justice Department

A White House official said the criticism of Mr. Sessions was the “latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats.”

Mr. Schumer dismissed allegation of partisan motivation.

“They say that about everything. It’s getting tired,” he said.

The allegation of a Russian connection have dogged Mr. Trump since before the election, and the controversy previously rocked his still-young administration.

Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn was forced to resign as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser after it was revealed that he misled other White House officials about his conversations with Mr. Kislyak during the transition, when he discussed U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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