UPDATE: Sessions not disclosing contacts w/Russians because it would invade his "personal privacy" https://t.co/AOWJU8xn2R
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 13, 2017
… The Thursday morning “disclosure” comes in response to a lawsuit from an ethics watchdog group.
According to NPR, a “recently-launched ethics watchdog group called American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March for sections of the Standard Form 86 [i.e., security clearance] relating to Sessions’ contacts ‘with any official of the Russian government.’” On June 12, a judge ordered the DOJ to comply with the request within 30 days…
On Thursday morning, the DOJ finally made an attempt to comply with the court order by disclosing a single page document that is almost totally redacted. The one exception is a box checked ‘No,’ indicating Sessions has not had contact with a foreign government in the last seven years.
Citing a DOJ spokesman, Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider reports that the former senator from Alabama is intentionally omitting meetings he had with Russian officials, including Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak…
But it is not clear Sessions was acting in his official capacity when he met with Kislyak during the campaign. As the Wall Street Journal has reported, one of Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak happened at the Republican National Convention — an event Sessions traveled to and from using campaign funds. What’s more, a person who was at the RNC told the Journal that Sessions and Kislyak discussed the Trump campaign…
The Attorney General is defying a court order. Also, a reminder Sessions committed perjury during his confirmation hearings. https://t.co/eD4BVSJVls
— Steven Santos (@stevensantos) July 13, 2017
Sessions abruptly settled a massive Russian fraud case involving …wait for it… the lawyer who met with Trump Jr. https://t.co/iSRyu5lo91
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) July 13, 2017
Democratic congressmen on the House Judiciary Committee want to know why Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly settled a money laundering case in May involving the same Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential election to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The civil forfeiture case was filed in 2013 by Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York — who was fired by Trump in March. The case alleged that 11 companies were involved in a tax fraud in Russia and then laundered a portion of the $230 million they got into Manhattan real estate.
The forfeiture case was heralded at the time as “a significant step towards uncovering and unwinding a complex money laundering scheme arising from a notorious foreign fraud,” Bharara said. “As alleged, a Russian criminal enterprise sought to launder some of its billions in ill-gotten rubles through the purchase of pricey Manhattan real estate.”
But Instead of proceeding with the trial as scheduled, the Trump Justice Department settled the case two days before it was due to begin. By then, Bharara had already been axed by the president. Bharara’s assistant did not immediately respond to request for comment…
The Russian attorney who uncovered the tax fraud scheme, Sergei Magnitsky, mysteriously died in prison. As a result, U.S. lawmakers passed the Magnitsky Act, which levied sanctions on Russian officials—sanctions that Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney, worked to reverse.
Also the attorney representing the Russian companies in the DOJ case, Veselnitskaya, is the same one who organized a meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and top Trump campaign officials in June 2016 to offer material that could “incriminate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “Love it,” responded Trump, Jr. to an intermediary.
Sessions just abruptly dismissed a Russian money laundering case. Guess who the lawyer was – Veselnitskaya! https://t.co/1CaxdaPEQL
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) July 12, 2017
Be sure thy sins will find thee out, Mr. Sessions.
Give the Russians this much credit: When it comes to soliciting corruption, they are nothing if not thorough.