February 21, 2017
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, apparently thinking he’s in charge and can bark out orders, on Tuesday repeated a demand that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself from investigating ousted national security adviser Mike Flynn’s pre-inauguration contacts with Russian officials.
Schumer, D-N.Y., penned an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing the investigation will not be independent if Sessions is left in charge because of his longstanding ties to President Trump.
“Removing a political ally from running the investigation is absolutely necessary to assure the public the matter will be handled without partisanship,” Schumer wrote. “Anything short of a full recusal by Sessions will jaundice the investigation and violate Justice Department rules.” Schumer never made such demands when Obama was president.
Schumer last week issued a statement calling for Sessions to recuse himself from probing Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador in the weeks before Trump took office. Flynn was forced to resign after acknowledging the talks may have included recently imposed sanctions, despite telling Vice President Mike Pence he did not talk about the sanctions.
The FBI is not expected to charge Flynn, however. According to media reports, FBI officials who interviewed Flynn said he did not appear to lie about his discussions with the ambassador.
But Democrats are eager to exploit the Trump administration stumble with Flynn and they want a more comprehensive probe into his actions.
Schumer, in the op-ed, used Sessions’ own words to make his case that Sessions should not be the one to lead the probe.
Sessions last year wrote that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch should recuse herself from investigating then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as secretary of state. He called on the Obama administration to appoint an independent special counsel. Obama did not follow that advice.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions should take the words of Sen. Jeff Sessions to heart,” Schumer wrote.