This week, Democratic officials and anti-Trump media accused Attorney General Sessions of lying about his pre-election contacts with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak during his confirmation hearings. The move prompted Sessions to remove himself from any current or future investigations related to Trump's election campaign and Russia's alleged involvement.
Commenting on the affair, The American Conservative contributor Philip Giraldi pointed out that the hysteria surrounding Sessions is based on the phrasing of a single question by Senator Al Franken during Sessions' confirmation hearing. Franken asked what the former senator would do if he were to find any evidence of Russian involvement in the election. Sessions, who had been involved in Trump's campaign (but was not a member of the campaign staff) answered that he was not aware of such involvement, but failed mention that he had had intermittent interactions with Russian officials as part of his official duties as a senator.
Sessions' failure to mention his perfectly legal contacts with Russian officials has led House and Senate Democrats to accuse him of "lying." On Thursday, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer demanded that Sessions resign. House minority leader Nanci Pelosi said that the attorney general should be investigated for perjury. Anti-Trump media soon began spreading absurd theories that Ambassador Kislyak was really a secret spy recruiter.
Trump called the latest political and media attack on his administration a "total witch hunt" by Democrats, adding that Sessions was an honest man who did not intend to intentionally deceive anyone.
The scandal surrounding Sessions is the anti-Trump campaign's second major target following the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign last month over accusations that he had deliberately lied about having met with the Russian ambassador a month before then President-elect Trump took office.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, journalist and political commentator George Szamuely emphasized that there was no doubt that the Sessions scandal was "a clear attempt to destroy Donald Trump."
Szamuely pointed out that what's being portrayed as a major controversy is a situation where "a senior senator – a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, met briefly in his own office with the Russian ambassador." This, the journalist stressed, "is part of the job description of senators in general, and those on the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular – to meet foreign officials, ambassadors, visiting dignitaries, etc."
Now, the journalist noted, "this perfectly innocuous meeting has been built up into some sort of political crisis. Clearly, this is utterly fraudulent, and what is behind it is an attempt on the part of the Democrats, led secretly by Obama and Hillary Clinton in the background, to do a quick end-run around the Trump administration."
"They've probably figured that the quickest way for them get rid of Donald Trump, and overturn the election results of last November, is by moving towards some kind of an impeachment," Szamuely said. And they just may succeed, the journalist warned, "so long as they can throw up enough smoke of 'Russia this, Russia that'; then they can move toward some kind of impeachment in the House and the Senate." It may even lead to Trump simply giving up and resigning, leading Washington politics to return to the old business as usual.
At the moment, Szamuely noted, it doesn't look like Sessions will actually resign over this made up scandal. "But it's possible; if this drumbeat continues, and some other things come out, like him meeting with some other Russian, then it could happen."
"If he does resign, Trump will have lost Flynn and Sessions, both of whom were very close to him from the beginning of his campaign. Then Trump is in serious trouble," the journalist stressed. "Then I think there is a very serious question as to whether he can last even one term in office."
In other words, Szamuely noted, it's now up to Trump to "really fight his corner for this. And not in the rather feeble way that he responded to the concerted attack against Flynn, where he didn't really fight, but just gave in right away."
"If he loses, and Sessions is out, then I think [Trump's] own administration is really over," Szamuely said. The commentator explained that getting rid of the attorney general would give the Democrats ammunition to impeach and to pull nervous Republicans along with them.
The journalist suggested that the worst thing about this whole situation is that Trump's opponents are grabbing at the "most scurrilous, vile stuff available. To accuse someone of being a traitor –of working for a foreign government – that's about a serious a charge as you can make. So you'd better have to come up with some serious evidence of this. And the Democrats and the media in cahoots with them haven't bothered to come up with any evidence!"
Trump, Szamuely stressed, must take a firm stand, and support Sessions more vigorously than he has so far – to openly point out that this is an open attempt to destroy his administration.
At the moment, the commentator noted, "it doesn't look like he's fully aware of the forces that he's fighting. He's up against the intelligence community, the very powerful mainstream media, the entire Democratic Party establishment being manipulated by Obama and Clinton in the background, and important sections of his own party. He's got huge forces against him! And unless he realizes how formidable these forces are, and how feeble his own position is; unless he really mobilizes public support, then I think he's in real trouble…"