The problem with Attorney General Jeff Sessions has always been that he is too nice.
He is a consummate gentlemen in a cesspool of diseased vermin and poisonous pit vipers, writhing and scampering around in their eternal dark struggle to exterminate one another.
So, when Mr. Sessions is told that he has lied under oath, failed to answer questions completely and misled the United States Senate, he responds with the humility of a church deacon who has just been accused by fellow parishioners of piling too much of the fried chicken onto his plate at the potluck supper.
“Well, ah am sorry if I have transgressed here,” he responds in his languid, country lawyer style. “In no way did I intend to offend, but certainly I should have done better and been more thoughtful of those around me.”
Then he recuses himself, apologizes and sends the U.S. Senate a clarification of his testimony.
Of course, this is the right and decent thing to do when you have been accused of piling too much of the fried chicken onto your plate at the church potluck. Apologize, acknowledge your thoughtlessness and promise the decent folks around you that you will be more careful and considerate next time.
But these are not decent people we are talking about around here. Or remotely honest. And this sure ain’t church.
We are talking about partisan Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the latter of whom is one of the most dishonest people to serve in the Senate.
Because so much of this non-controversy over Mr. Sessions’ testimony has played out between yammering partisans over cable television, it is difficult to suss out precisely what Mr. Sessions was asked and how exactly he responded. A closer examination of the actual words reveals that not only did Mr. Sessions answer the questions honestly, he answered them honestly and completely. He even volunteered a more complete answer than he was asked.
First consider “comedian” Franken’s inquiry.
Mr. Franken set up his question by informing Mr. Sessions of the — at that time — new and truly shocking news that “Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal information about Mr. Trump.” Furthermore, Mr. Franken asserted, “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”
Of course, we now know that Mr. Franken was peddling a total and complete fabrication about “compromising personal information” the Russians had on Mr. Trump. In other words, Mr. Franken set the tone of his query with his own lies and fake news.
Now, the question: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the campaign, what will you do?”
So, Mr. Franken didn’t even ask Mr. Sessions if he himself was part of this “continuing exchange of information” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But Mr. Sessions answered that question anyway.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Mr. Sessions said. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
Key word, of course, being “communications,” as in this “continuing exchange of information” between Trump surrogates and the Russian government about the presidential election about which Mr. Franken was inquiring.
Based on everything we know right now at this moment, Mr. Sessions’ response was 100 percent accurate and totally complete — unlike, of course, the premise of Mr. Franken’s question.
The fact that Mr. Sessions ran into the Russian ambassador after a speech at the Republican National Convention and met with him briefly in his Senate office in no way whatsoever disproves Mr. Sessions’ response to Mr. Franken. He *did not* meet with any Russian officials as part of some “continuing exchange of information” regarding the election.
Then there is the written question from Mr. Leahy.
“Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day?” Mr. Leahy inquired.
“No,” Mr. Sessions replied.
Again, Mr. Sessions responded completely and totally accurately — based on everything we know today — by denying that he had “been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election.”
That he met twice with the Russian ambassador in no way whatsoever suggests Mr. Sessions discussed the election with him. Instead of being the unfailingly polite gentleman that he is, Mr. Sessions should have responded by accusing Mr. Franken of being the only liar in this situation.
Mr. Franken should be investigated for peddling outright lies and fake news during at Senate hearing. Forevermore, Mr. Franken should be required to stand and raise his right hand and take an oath to tell the truth whenever he speaks at a hearing or wants to ask questions.
Furthermore, all questions and statements should first be approved by President Trump’s Twitter account.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.