The Deep State renewed its campaign against top Trump administration officials late Friday when it leaked to the Washington Post details of intelligence intercepts in which Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reportedly told his superiors that he discussed “campaign-related matters” with Jeff Sessions before he became attorney general.
The Post reported that accounts of Kislyak’s two conversations with Sessions in 2016, when Sessions was a campaign adviser to Trump, were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies. They were not seen by the Post, but in a typically Deep State move, were described to the paper by officials. The story has extremely scarce details on what exactly was discussed, for how long, and in what level of detail.
One official told the Post that the intel indicated that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on “campaign-related matters” including Trump’s positions on Russian issues, as well as prospects for U.S-Russian relations in a Trump administration.
Sessions recused himself from any Russian investigation in March after it was revealed he had two conversations with Kislyak in 2016, one in April and one in July — encounters he did not disclose at his Senate confirmation hearing.
If the accounts are accurate, they would appear to contradict a statement Sessions made in March in which he said: “I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.” He also said he only met with Kislyak in his capacity as a U.S. Senator.
Officials who spoke to the Post say they believe that what is on the intelligence intercepts contradicts what Sessions said publicly. The Justice Department said it was unable to comment on the story due to the lack of detail and the sketchy sourcing.
“Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me,” Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told the Post in a statement, and said that Sessions did not discuss interference in the election.
The revelation seems timed to do the most damage to the conservative, pro-border security attorney general, who has long been heralded as nationalists’ favorite Trump cabinet appointment.
Sessions has had enormous success in six short months in prison reform, getting tough on drug traffickers and violent offenders, and enforcing America’s border controls. Sessions has been a hardliner on immigration for years. In 2015 he sent around an “immigration handbook” to new Republican members of Congress in which he called “immigration reform” a “legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens.”
But Trump has apparently soured on his once-closest ally, particularly over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any Russian investigation.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he told the New York Times in an interview Wednesday. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”
However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that while Trump was “disappointed” in Sessions’ decision to recuse himself, “clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the Attorney General.”
Sessions meanwhile said at a Thursday press conference: “I plan to continue to [serve] as long as that is appropriate.”
The Post notes that Sessions’ role in removing FBI Director James Comey has angered many at the bureau.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY