The Smearing of Jeff Sessions
George Neumayr
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Craven Republicans, looking for a pat on the head from the mainstream media, can always be counted on to echo its idiotic demands. The phony controversy over the Trump campaign’s imaginary ties to Putin is the latest pitiful example of this phenomenon.

Instead of exposing the hyper-partisanship behind this media obsession, these Republicans are humoring it. We hear from them craven calls for a “special prosecutor” to investigate and demands that attorney general Jeff Sessions submit to one because he had, in his capacity as a senator, a grand total of two unimportant encounters with the Russia ambassador. How shocking. Who knew that senators and ambassadors from major countries with whom we have diplomatic relations interact? Extraordinary.

To the hyperventilating twits on Morning Joe, Ted Cruz made the obvious point: “What we are seeing is a lot of political theater. This morning, everyone is in high dudgeon about the meeting. The underlying meeting is a nothing burger. It’s what senators do every day. Meeting with foreign ambassadors, that’s part of the job. I think everyone is getting all worked up because it’s a chance to beat up the attorney general and to beat up the president.”

The media coverage of this nontroversy has been nothing short of Kafkaesque, with heavy-breathing headlines about Sessions failing to “disclose” his meetings with the ambassador. This is the cheapest of cheap shots, as lawyer Robert Barnes notes:

Senator Franken, during the Attorney General confirmation proceedings, talked about “ties to Russia” and asked if Senator Session had discussed the Trump campaign “with Russian government officials.” Sessions answered he had not. Sessions has no “ties with Russia” and there is no evidence he discussed the Trump campaign with any Russian official. The attempt to conflate Sessions doing his job as a Senator — meeting with ambassadors — as meaning he must have talked about campaign tactics or the campaign at all is patently ludicrous…

Franken asked about “a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Sessions answered: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” Anyone reading the actual exchange can see Sessions was referring to no communications “as a surrogate” just as the question’s very long pre-amble specifically referenced the focus of the question to that subject matter. Nothing about Sessions’ answer was false, nor could it be construed to be materially false or willfully false, or even false at all.

Notably, Senator Franken chose not to ask Sessions about his contacts with Russian officials over the years in his duties as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee. Sessions’ first meeting of the Russian ambassador was in public, and likely known to Franken and others. Franken could not have interpreted Sessions’ answer as anything but an answer to the question asked about campaign contacts with Russian government officials, which no evidence supports ever occurring.

It is difficult to overstate what loathsome partisans the Democrats are. Having spent the Cold War scolding Republicans for anti-Russian provocations, they now encourage infinitely less serious ones, all for the sake of trying to score partisan points against Trump. Pro-Soviet pacifists have suddenly turned into anti-Russian warmongers in the hopes of undercutting Trump. Blessed are the troublemakers — that is now the motto of pacifist Democrats. They have gone from demanding “dialogue” with America’s enemies to forbidding it.

And is Russia even threatening vital American interests? No. So what is all of this feverish anti-Russian talk about? Well, they tried to “tip the election to Trump,” cry the Democrats. Maybe, maybe not. What we know with certainty is that the U.S government, under Barack Obama, tried to tip the election to Hillary and damage Trump. Should we investigate that? Should Congress appoint a special investigator to ferret out how many U.S. government officials helped Hillary? And what about the influence of pro-Hillary foreign governments on the election? Does that require a special prosecutor too?

All of this is nonsense, and Republicans shouldn’t surrender an inch to it. Those who do deserve to be primaried. At a time when they should be exposing the pathological partisanship of the media and Democrats, they are placating it. There is also an annoying faux-hawkishness about it all, cavalier posturing that could get America into another stupid war.  One could take the nonstop Putin-bashing seriously if these Republicans actually detailed how Russia endangers America, but they can’t. So in the end it is just chic chest-beating, and over a country no worse than countless others with whom America has diplomatic relations.

The media and Dems are looking to scalp Sessions not for any misdeeds but for his conservatism, and these Republican frauds are helping them. That the chattering has even turned to whether he should “resign” is a measure of the partisan hysteria of the moment. Every Dem under the sun is rushing to a microphone to call for his resignation. With a straight face, Nancy Pelosi even called for prosecuting him: “Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.”

In their desperate anti-Trump histrionics, the Dems look less like Eugene McCarthy than Joe McCarthy.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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