Another Pointless Russia Hearing | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Another Pointless Russia Hearing
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On a steamy Tuesday, the Senate’s probe of Jeff Sessions served no purpose save a soporific one. The media, with its idiotic pre-hearing countdown clock, suggested that viewers could look forward to riveting testimony. The hearing was anything but. It was boring and pointless as hell. Senate drips such as Mark Warner droned on, rehashing the same tired material and questions. The questioning was so straining, empty, and cheap I expected one of the Democrats to ask Sessions: Have you ever, while flipping cable channels at home or at the office, stopped on Russia Television? If so, which programs did you watch and why? Could you give the dates on which you watched RT and the duration of the viewing?

Given the bottomless partisan pettiness of the Democrats, such a line of questioning isn’t beyond them. Meanwhile, the media, desperate to keep a whiff of scandal in the air, treated the standard practices of any Justice Department, which Sessions invoked, as breaking news. Hence, the New York Times headlined its story on the nothing hearing, “Sessions Testimony: Attorney General Refuses To Disclose Talks with Trump.”

Is your mind blown yet? Can you believe that this administration has the audacity to protect its communications? Leave it to the Times to treat the customary confidentiality of every executive branch that has ever existed as shockingly novel and sinister. As if learning of the Constitution’s separation of powers for the first time, the Times reports solemnly:

Mr. Sessions refused to talk about direct communications with Mr. Trump, saying, “I cannot and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president.”

Pressed by Mr. Warner, though, Mr. Sessions clarified that Mr. Trump had not invoked executive privilege — a constitutional doctrine that permits a president to shield his confidential communications with subordinates. Rather, he said it was a matter of longstanding Justice Department practices to keep those discussions secret.

“I’m not able to comment on conversations with high officials in the White House,” Mr. Sessions said, denying that he was “stonewalling.”

As the testimony unfolded, that played out in several ways. For example, at one point, Mr. Sessions refused to say whether he had discussed the F.B.I. investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election with Mr. Trump.

At another, asked by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, about the account of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, that Mr. Trump had cleared the Oval Office after a Feb. 14 meeting — including asking Mr. Sessions to leave — Mr. Sessions said that would be a White House communication he could not comment on. But when Mr. Rubio asked if Mr. Sessions remembered seeing Mr. Comey stay behind, Mr. Sessions replied, “Yes.”

The Times was also baffled by Sessions’ willingness to challenge that colossus of integrity, leaker James Comey, whose word is suddenly sacrosanct for Dems who just a few months ago were calling him a hack. Choosing its words carefully, the Times reports with gravity, “After Mr. Comey’s testimony last week, the Justice Department released a statement contesting Mr. Comey’s account that Mr. Sessions had merely remained silent, and Mr. Sessions himself on Tuesday said directly and under oath that he did respond.”

Under oath no less! Thanks for informing us. We had no idea that Senate witnesses testify under oath. Glad the Times has finally cleared that up.

“While he did not provide me with any of the substance of his conversation with the president, Mr. Comey expressed concern about the proper communications protocol with the White House and with the president,” Sessions said. “I responded to his comment by agreeing that the F.B.I. and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House. I was confident that Mr. Comey understood and would abide by the department’s well-established rules governing any communications with the White House about ongoing investigations. My comments encouraged him to do just that, and indeed, as I understand, he did.”

So he is saying he didn’t just shrug? Oh my. Maybe the Senate will need to initiate a perjury investigation.

As I struggled to stay awake while watching the hearing at a store, I heard a patron mutter about the Dems, “They got nothing.”

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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