By the numbers:
Trump’s approval rating according to 538’s new aggregate: 43.7 percent
Rick Perry’s confirmation vote margin: 62-37
All-time DOW high after Trump’s speech: 21,000
Sessions recuses himself but still falls short of Ohio Democrats’ demands
Today at a press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would recuse himself from any investigations into Russian interference in last year’s elections.
Last night, The Washington Post revealed Sessions had met with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign while he was still a senator. Since that reveal and Sessions’ press conference at 4 p.m. today, both senators from Ohio weighed in on the subject.
Sen. Sherrod Brown joined other Democrats in calling for the attorney general’s resignation. Brown cited Sessions’ apparent lying under oath during his confirmation process when Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, asked him if he had any contacts with Russians during the campaign, and Sessions said he hadn’t.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman was less severe, saying Sessions should recuse himself from any Russian-Trump investigations. Plenty of other Republicans called for Sessions’ recusal including House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who got right to the point in a tweet this morning.
AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 2, 2017
In case you’re keeping track at home, this is the second time a Trump administration official has had to address concerns about potential ties to Russia. Two weeks ago, Michael Flynn resigned from his position as National Security Adviser because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about contacting the very same Russian ambassador during the transition. The key difference in these two situations is that Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence, and Sessions lied to Congress.
What happens next and what it means
Now that Sessions has recused himself, the investigations into Russian hacking will continue as it has been for the past month. The Department of Justice isn’t poised to play a large part in the investigations until charges were brought.
Even if Sessions recusal won’t have an immediate effect on investigations, it marks a victory for Democrats who have formed a united front against the Trump administration. Even if they had been calling for Sessions’ resignation, a recusal can still be chalked up as a win to a party that doesn’t control any branch of government.