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The Collapsing Souffle' of the Sessions Allegations

I have not commented on the allegations that Attorney General Sessions had illicit contacts with the Russians, and lied about it during his confirmation hearings, because I have been around this town long enough (more than 40 years) to spot a politically-inspired concoction when I see one.  The idea that Sessions is or was a Russian collaborator  --  in essence, Benedict Arnold slyly impersonating a wahoo Alabama conservative all these years  --  is something you'd expect to read in the Onion, not the NYT (although it's getting harder to tell the difference). Same deal with the idea that the plain-spoken former state prosecutor has learned the smooth talking schtick of the defense bar.

It predictably turns out (and it didn't take that long) that the whole thing was  --  how shall I say this?  --  fake news. Vanity Fair, not known as a mouthpiece of the Republican Party, looks in detail at the allegations against Sessions and concludes:

As things clear up, we may be seeing a collapsing soufflé. And as with so many soufflés served up by the press in recent months, it emerged from the oven to oohs and ahs--this time, with me among the oohers and ahers--only to sink, first slowly, then quickly. Next, it will go into the trash, and we'll bake another. It's tiring. It's boring. And above all it's supremely damaging to the press. If you want people to believe you, then develop a reputation for believability.
The Vanity Fair article is brutal in the "nothing-left-but-rubble" extent to which it shows that Sessions' discussion with the Russian ambassador, supposedly about the Presidential campaign, was as much about that subject as were two dozen other discussions with assorted foreign officials that Sessions, together with numerous others in his position, including many Democrats, had in the course of meetings they held as members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ted Cruz's immediate reaction, "nothingburger," about sums it up.

So I should probably let it go at that, but there is one other article I saw that impeaches, as not merely meritless but absurd, the notion that Sessions' conversation with the Russian ambassador at the Republican National Convention was sinister, or that Sessions lied about it in response to the question he was actually asked (my emphasis below):

At issue was a "meeting" Jeff Sessions had with the Russian ambassador at a Heritage Foundation hosted event and his confirmation testimony in which the said he did not meet with any Russians about the 2016 election. Then they usual suspects set about to win a Pulitzer prize by pole vaulting over mouse dung:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions used funds from his Senate reelection campaign account to cover travel expenses at last year's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to multiple reports, where he met with the Russian ambassador.

Sessions, who was then a Republican senator from Alabama and frequent surrogate for President Trump on the campaign trail, has defended his meeting with Sergey Kislyak as perfectly normal for a member of the Armed Services Committee. But The Wall Street Journal said Thursday he used campaign funds for the travel, rather than official Senate Armed Services Committee funds.
The implication is that Sessions had to have been meeting about the campaign because he was traveling on campaign funds.

Now we know who made that meeting possible.

The first came at a conference on "Global Partners in Diplomacy," where Sessions was the keynote speaker. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, The Heritage Foundation, and several other organizations, it was held in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.

The conference was an educational program for ambassadors invited by the Obama State Department to observe the convention. The Obama State Department handled all of the coordination with ambassadors and their staff, of which there were about 100 at the conference.

Apparently, after Sessions finished speaking, a small group of ambassadors--including the Russian ambassador--approached the senator as he left the stage and thanked him for his remarks.
That's the first "meeting." And it's hardly an occasion--much less a venue--in when a  conspiracy to "interfere" with the November election could be hatched.
The author concludes:

And do you know why Sessions used campaign funds? Because he was going to attend the RNC convention and knew that if he used Senate funds then the left and the hardcore #NeverTrump people would be going...crazy.

This has really been a shameful exercise. I'd expected the Democrats to pile on this. But I really hadn't expected, or even thought possible, that alleged conservatives, many of them who should have know this was [baloney] and, quite honestly many did know it, would join in the conscious character assassination of a man with an unblemished record of public service for the sole purpose of hurting Trump.
I've met some people in this town I consider men of extraordinary courage and integrity  -- Clarence Thomas, Ed Meese and Michael Mukasey among them.  I have met Attorney General Sessions, too; I think I know him a bit; and I will say without reservation that he is in that same league.  If he is not an honest man, there is no such thing.

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