I was puzzled by the Jeff Sessions hearing yesterday, primarily at a number of questions that weren't asked, questions that seemed obvious to me. Instead a lot of time was spent circling around some topics that I didn't think were all that interesting. No, I don't think Jeff Sessions openly colluded with the Russian government to steal the election, but he may have been unwittingly played by them. But here were the questions I wanted answers to and while some Senators got close to these, none of them asked these:
- What was the purpose of your meetings with Ambassador Kislyak? Why did you schedule the meetings? Were you meeting as a Senator or as a member of the Trump campaign? See this article for why these distinctions matter.
- What did you discuss with Mr. Kislyak? [John McCain asked if they talked about various things, but he never asked this open-ended question. Note that McCain is skeptical that Sessions held this meeting in his role as a member of the Armed Services Committee.]
- When Director Comey asked you to intercede with the president to prevent any future breaches of protocol, did you address this concern with the President? If not, why not? If so, what was his response?
- Do you believe that the president's conversations with Director Comey were inappropriate?
- Do you believe that the president asking Mr. Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn is an attempt at obstruction of justice?
- You have said that your reasons for supporting Mr. Comey's firing were those detailed in Mr. Rosenstein's memo, but the President has said he fired Mr. Comey because of the Russian investigation. Do you believe the president's reason is legitimate? Do you think differently about the firing after learning that was the president's reason? [Senator Collins came close to this, but didn't go precisely to this point.] Do you believe that firing Mr. Comey because of the Russian investigation is an attempt to obstruct the investigation? Did the president obstruct justice?
One thing Sessions revealed in the hearing was that he had no information on the Russian investigation that wasn't public information. One of the Senators, I now forget which, asked him, with some surprise and incredulity, about the confidential report the intelligence services had released last fall when Sessions was a Senator. Hadn't he read the report? Hadn't he, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, attended the briefings for Senators? Sessions said he hadn't. The Senator seemed puzzled that Sessions had not been alarmed by the fact of Russian interference and hadn't wanted to learn about it. I felt that this should have been followed up on more seriously.