I am suspicious of the he timing of this leak where supposedly US surveillance picked up a conversation where the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is heard commenting on how the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions had conversations with him on several occasions pertaining to campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow. It is important to note that just because Mr. Kislyak’s comments have been picked up by US intelligence does not mean he is being truthful.
Russian officials are fully aware that their discussions are frequently intercepted by foreign entities to where it would be very possible that this debriefing of Mr. Kislyak with his superiors was intentional with the goal of doing harm to Mr. Sessions.
It is my contention that the republican President Donald Trump wants to set up the situation where he can order the firing of the FBI’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. Because the US Attorney Jeff Sessions has recused himself from having any role in the Trump-Russian probe, he would not be in a position to fire Mr. Mueller. The Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has stated for the record that he wouldn’t do the firing.
Recently the president was very disparaging in describing Mr. Sessions to where it seemed that the president would not be disappointed if Mr. Sessions tendered a letter of resignation but he did not bite on the president’s bait. This is an added reason as to why I am questioning the unusually opportune timing of this news development.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On July 21, 2017, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show.”
“Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.”
“Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.”
“One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of the April (2016) encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.”
“Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. Senator that he met with Kislyak.”
“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said in March (2017) when he announced that he would recuse himself from matters relating to the FBI probe of Russian interference in the election and any connections to the Trump campaign.”
“Current and former U.S. officials said that assertion is at odds with Kislyak’s accounts of conversations during two encounters over the course of the campaign, one in April (2016) ahead of Trump’s first major foreign policy speech and another in July (2016) on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention.”
“The apparent discrepancy could pose new problems for Sessions at a time when his position in the administration appears increasingly tenuous.”
“Trump, in an interview this week, expressed frustration with Sessions’s recusing himself from the Russia probe and indicated that he regretted his decision to make the lawmaker from Alabama the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Trump also faulted Sessions as giving “bad answers” during his confirmation hearing about his Russian contacts during the campaign.”
Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.
“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,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman in a statement. She reiterated that Sessions did not discuss interference in the election.”
“Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.”
“Although it remains unclear how involved Kislyak was in the covert Russian campaign to aid Trump, his superiors in Moscow were eager for updates about the candidate’s positions, particularly regarding U.S. sanctions on Russia and long-standing disputes with the Obama administration over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.”
“Kislyak also reported having a conversation with Sessions in April at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where then-candidate Trump delivered his first major foreign policy address, according to the officials familiar with intelligence on Kislyak.”
“Sessions has said he does not remember any encounter with Kislyak at that event. In his June testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said, “I do not recall any conversations with any Russian official at the Mayflower Hotel.”
“Kislyak was also a key figure in the departure of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to leave that job after The Post revealed that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak even while telling others in the Trump administration that he had not done so.”
“In that case, however, Flynn’s phone conversations with Kislyak were intercepted by U.S. intelligence, providing irrefutable evidence. The intelligence on Sessions, by contrast, is based on Kislyak’s accounts and not corroborated by other sources.”
“Former FBI director James B. Comey fueled speculation about the possibility of a Sessions-Kislyak meeting at the Mayflower when he told the same Senate committee on June 8 that the bureau had information about Sessions that would have made it “problematic” for him to be involved in the Russia probe.”
“Comey would not provide details of what information the FBI had, except to say that he could only discuss it privately with the senators. Current and former officials said he appeared to be alluding to intelligence on Kislyak’s account of an encounter with Sessions at the Mayflower.”
“Sessions’s role in removing Comey as FBI director angered many at the bureau and set in motion events that led to the appointment of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel overseeing the Russia probe.”
“Trump’s harsh words toward the attorney general fueled speculation this week that Sessions would be fired or would resign. So far, he has resisted resigning, saying that he intends to stay in the job “as long as that is appropriate.”