Calls grew louder Thursday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from investigations into Trump team ties with Russia, and some Democrats called for his resignation. Both Democrats and Republicans want more information about what then-Senator Sessions discussed in a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his Senate office in September.
During his confirmation hearing, Sessions denied he’d had any contact with Russian officials. After the Washington Post reported he’d twice met with Kislyak, Sessions said in a statement Wednesday night that he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” arguing that meetings taken in his capacity as a senator were appropriate. He was the first senator to endorse Trump for president and was a prominent surrogate during the campaign.
Trump has denied that he had any knowledge of contact between his team and Russia. But as early as two days after the election, members of the Trump team were accused of talking to Russian officials during the campaign. Sessions is the latest member of President Donald Trump’s team revealed to have had contact with Russian officials during the campaign or before Trump’s inauguration.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced out following revelations that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his phone conversations with Kislyak in December before Trump took office. Other officials are being investigated by the FBI for possible ties. Russian hacking and interference in the U.S. election is also under investigation.
Senators expressed concern during confirmation hearings about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s business ties to Russia, but the former Exxon Mobile CEO has not been linked to campaign conversations with Russia. Many of Trump’s other Cabinet members were similarly not involved in campaign operations.
These are some the members of Trump’s team who have not been publicly linked to Russia:
President Donald Trump
Vice President Mike Pence
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Presidential Adviser Kellyanne Conway
White House Strategist Steve Bannon
Senior Adviser Jared Kushner