With former FBI director James Comey reportedly set to offer public testimony before Congress next week, the Russia scandal plaguing the Trump administration continued on Thursday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions facing new questions about his truthfulness on the matter.
On three separate occasions, according to letters made public earlier in the day, Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on the FBI to investigate Sessions for "possible perjury" related to his failure to disclose meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation hearing in January.
In a letter dated March 20, which Leahy posted on Twitter Thursday morning, the senators noted that they were "disturbed that the Attorney General has not been forthcoming about his contacts with the Russian ambassador since he was forced to disclose the two meetings following press reports."
"We are concerned about Attorney General Sessions' lack of candor to the committee and his failure thus far to accept responsibility for testimony that could be construed as perjury," the senators added.
"If it is determined that the Attorney General still has not been truthful with Congress and the American people about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, he needs to resign."
—Sens. Al Franken and Patrick Leahy
The three letters—dated March 20, April 28, and May 12—were released by Franken and Leahy following a CNN report on Wednesday indicating that congressional investigators are looking into the possibility that Sessions had a third meeting with Kislyak.
Since March, Franken has been saying publicly that he believes Sessions "perjured himself" by insisting that he had no contact with anyone connected to the Russian government about the presidential election. After it was revealed that he had in fact met with Kislyak twice, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
"Mr. Sessions insisted there was nothing nefarious about his two meetings with the Russian ambassador," the New York Times reported at the time, "even though he did not disclose them to the Senate during his confirmation hearing and they occurred during the heat of the race between Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Mr. Trump, whom Mr. Sessions was advising on national security."
In a statement released on Thursday alongside the three letters, Franken and Leahy reiterated their concerns.
"We know he would not tolerate dishonesty if he were in our shoes," the senators wrote. "If it is determined that the Attorney General still has not been truthful with Congress and the American people about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, he needs to resign."
Franken, in an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday, said that his office "has been in contact with the FBI" on the possibility that Sessions had a third meeting with Kislyak. He has been informed, he said, that the FBI is currently "crafting a response."