Attorney General Jeff Sessions clearly believes that committing perjury and colluding with Russians as they interfered in the U.S. election is a laughing matter.
In a speech given to the conservative Federalist Society at their 2017 National Lawyers Convention, Sessions made light of his behavior that has been the subject of widespread condemnation.
Laughing, Sessions asked the assembled lawyers, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?”
“Anybody been to Russia?” he added, to the delight of the audience.
SESSIONS: I just was thinking, you know I should want to ask you: Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? Before I get started here. Any Russians? Anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia, or something?
The comment was in reference to Sessions’ meeting with then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions lied and said he had no contact with Russia while serving as a member of the Trump campaign.
Specifically, he said, “I did not have communications with the Russians.”
On the contrary, it was subsequently revealed that Sessions had two secret meetings with the Russian official.
Sessions has repeatedly lied and misled about his personal contacts with Russians while he was working with the Trump campaign.
He was one of many top Trump campaign officials — including Donald Trump Jr. — who had meetings with Russians while they were in the middle of a campaign to influence the outcome of the race in Trump’s favor.
When these connections were exposed, public pressure forced Sessions to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign and Russian interference.
These comments, however, show that the nation’s chief law enforcement official, and the head of the Department of Justice, views perjury and foreign election interference as mere punchlines.
In an audience of like-minded conservatives (the Federalist Society was designed to shift the courts to the right), he clearly felt he was in a safe space and decided to openly mock the rule of law he’s supposed to uphold.
Sessions and other Trump officials are simply disinterested in doing what is right because their coordination with Russia helped them to attain power. That, and not the rule of law or simple adherence to truth, motivates and guides their actions.
Sessions laughs while perjuring himself, and other conservative lawyers — also officers of the court — laughed right along.