If Trump’s hope was to hold on to some political good will after his Tuesday night address to the joint session of Congress, Wednesday night’s revelation could very well put that in danger.
It smacks of the same uncomfortable situation that eventually brought then-national security adviser Michael Flynn down.
Flynn was forced to resign from his new position after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on two occasions during the presidential election last year despite testifying before the Senate that he had not had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
The former Alabama senator and then-foreign policy adviser to Trump first talked with Kislyak in July following an event at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. A small group of ambassadors had approached Sessions after the event and Kislyak spoke individually with Sessions at that time. Then in September, Kislyak met Sessions at his office on Capitol Hill.
Is this on the same level as Flynn lying to the Vice President and allowing him to go on national television with false information?
Well, it is certainly troubling, and likely, against the law.
Richard Painter, the former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush (from 2005 to 2007) certainly feels it can cause a bit of a legal quandary for Sessions.
Misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one own contacts with the Russians is a good way to go to jail https://t.co/qH0s6sTMJ9
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 2, 2017
Adding to this is the ongoing drama of the 2016 election hack of Democrat emails. Many still believe the Russians are behind the hacks and the ensuing leaks to the media, with the goal being to bring down Hillary Clinton.
During his confirmation, Sessions told his former colleagues, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Justice officials added that Sessions did not believe his conversations with Kislyak were relevant to the committee because he met about senatorial issues, not campaign ones.
And there are some who would say that during his confirmation hearing, the attending senators should have been given the option of deciding how relevant the information was.
Now we wait to see Trump’s reaction.
It has been a tumultuous start to his presidency, with the bulk of the troubles originating from inside the administration.
With the shadow of the Kremlin close at his back, President Trump needs to deal with this now, and the world will be watching to see if his newfound presidential swagger from Tuesday night was a fluke, or has he really gotten the feel for the job?