Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Mayflower Hotel problem is not going away. While the Nixon scandal boiled down to one Washington hotel, so too may the Trump Russia scandal, at least for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. NBC News reported that Jeff Sessions is now being investigated by the FBI and Congress for an event that was held at Washington D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel in Spring 2016.
The April 2016 event coincides with a peculiar timeline, that also included bringing in Paul Manafort to the Trump campaign team. The event was also attended by Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who is the Russia figure at the center of Michael Flynn’s firing, and also Jeff Sessions recusal from the Trump Russia investigation. Also at the event was Jared Kushner.
Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the ongoing Trump Russia investigation happening with the FBI and Congress, when it was revealed that he may have not been truthful about interacting with Russian Sergey Kislyak. But many are questioning Sessions’ recusal, and if in fact he has even completely recused himself from the investigation as he is legally required to do.
There are at least two known meetings or conversations between Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak, that Sessions has brushed off as a matter of course during his time on the Foreign Armed Services Committee. But a third meeting is now being called into question, with at least five current and former United States officials now saying they are aware of intelligence that puts Jeff Sessions in a private encounter with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Jeff Sessions said it did not happen, but a large body of circumstantial evidence hints otherwise. Jared Kushner has also said that he did not meet with Sergey Kislyak on that day. In this photo at the Mayflower Hotel last spring, Jeff Sessions is just a few feet away from Sergey Kislyak who is in the front row sitting directly in front of the speaker with the red tie. There is literally only one person, a woman, in the space between Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak.
The Department of Justice spokesperson Sarah Flores said in a statement, “The facts haven’t changed; the then-Senator did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel.”
The statement does not include a denial that Jeff Sessions did not have any conversations with Kislyak in a public setting.
The FBI is now investigating this event, that was put on by a think tank known as the Center for the National Interest, or CFTNI. Donald Trump spoke at this event giving a foreign policy speech. In most cases, a foreign policy speech during an election campaign by an American presidential candidate would be conducted at an event with multiple ambassadors from all over the world.
This event only included four ambassadors, from the countries Russia, Italy, Philippines, and Singapore.
The FBI is very interested in this event, who was there, and what was said. It was Senator Al Franken from Minnesota who questioned Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing on his alleged contacts with Sergey Kislyak. Senator Franken has since said, “It’s hard to come to a conclusion other than, he perjured himself.”
Witnesses at the Mayflower event have long said there was no private meeting between Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak, but there was an event held privately in the Senate Room at the hotel prior to the event that they may not have known about. Both an FBI and Congressional investigations are now underway to determine the truth.
Ranking Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee are declining to comment on the scope and results of the current investigation, but to say, “Can’t talk about it.”
The timeline of this Mayflower Hotel event coincides not only with the induction of Paul Manafort into the Trump campaign, but also with the timeline of events surrounding the launching of the “hacking and dumping” of stolen emails during the election campaign.
Republican Congress member Trey Gowdy of the House Intelligence Committee has dismissed perjury claims on Jeff Sessions. He said the following to CNN.
“Attorney General Sessions incorrectly answered a question. That happens almost every day in Congress. There aren’t perjury referrals. If he said he forgot about it, he would be about the one millionth person who actually forgot a fact.”
But Trey Gowdy does not have a history of being kind to Democrats that “forget facts” and developed an uncomfortable reputation himself during the Benghazi hearings against Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal reported then that Trey Gowdy was sued for defamation over those hearings. Defamation is making false statements about someone that could harm or impair their reputation, as the Benghazi hearings did for Hillary Clinton.
The Inquisitr recently reported that Trey Gowdy himself was the subject of an ethics complaint over alleged bribes from Donald Trump super PACS during both the Benghazi hearings, and also the Trump Russia hearings.
Although Senators are not talking on record about Jeff Sessions perjury allegations now, an investigation into the transcripts of Congressional House Intelligence hearings notes a moment where Congress member Rep. Quigley called Jeff Sessions actions perjury.
“Unfortunately, what we’re reading now is that there was a third meeting as early as April of last year in Washington D.C., a meeting at which Candidate Trump was present and the Russian ambassador was present. At some point in time, this goes well beyond an innocent, under the best circumstances, ‘Oh I forgot’ sort of thing, or ‘that doesn’t count.’ When you correct your testimony in front of the United States Senate, you’re still under oath and you’re swearing to the American people that what you’re saying is true. Well, the third time is well beyond that and is quite simply, perjury.”
It is not okay to provide false facts to Congress, and could lead to defamation suits, or at worst, perjury charges. Find Law notes that penalties for perjury under oath could include prison terms up to five years.
Journalist Grant Stern and attorney Seth Abramson have both outlined more details on the meeting at the Mayflower Hotel. Grant Stern has followed the money and reports on Medium that the crux of the Trump Russia scandal all boils down to an oil deal.
Grant Stern has divided the scandal into three phrases. Stern reports that Phase One of the deal was Donald Trump naming Carter Page to his campaign. In an infograph shown on The Stern Facts at Medium, Stern reports that at this time, a Russian oil company owned by the Russian government known as Rosneft also hired American lawyers.
Phase Two reportedly involved sending Page on trips to Moscow. Carter Page according to this infograph was reportedly visiting Rosneft in Moscow. Phase Two also allegedly involved inviting Sergey Kislyak to attend the Republican National Convention. Grant Stern also reports in this infograph that Phase Two is allegedly the same time frame where then-Senator Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Those two alleged meetings are the same meetings he did not disclose during his confirmation hearing. One meeting between Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak allegedly occurred in his office, and another reportedly occurred in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) March 27, 2017
Grant Stern reported that by Phase Three, the Rosneft deal was moving fast, and once it closed, it coincided with the dropping of the infamous Steele dossier right before Trump’s inauguration. Just prior to that however, Grant Stern reports that Phase Two also included the dumping of the Podesta emails by Wiki Leaks. All three phases can be shown in the graphic below.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) March 27, 2017
But it was a week after Paul Manafort came on board that the night at the Mayflower Hotel allegedly occurred. Attorney and former criminal investigator Seth Abramson noted in a mega-thread on Twitter that, “The plot to sell America’s foreign policy for foreign oil and steal an election in the bargain began at the Mayflower Hotel.”
The group at that meeting was the Center for the National Interest (CTFNI). The meeting was originally scheduled for the National Press Club, a secure location. With less than 24 hours before Trump’s foreign policy speech to go, Seth Abramson alleges that the venue was cancelled with the Trump campaign noting via Paul Manafort that the venue was too small.
The meeting was relocated to the Mayflower Hotel. Attorney Seth Abramason asserts that what the Mayflower Hotel had that the National Press Club did not were private rooms and restricted VIP only areas.
According to Paul Sanders, executive director for CFTNI, the Center moved the event, not the Trump campaign, after a security review by the Secret Service determined that “substantial seating areas would have to be closed to provide a cleared and secure area near the stage. This would have prevented us from accommodating the over 100 guests and over 100 journalists with multiple cameras who wanted to attend the event. Because we were arranging the event on very short notice, very few alternative venues were available.”
9) The two things the Mayflower had that the NPC didn't were (a) 581 private rooms for private meetings, and (b) restricted, VIP-only areas. pic.twitter.com/kt1rBExo0i
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) March 24, 2017
Also at that event were the CFTNI event co-ordinators, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, former and fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and the four ambassadors, including Sergey Kislyak.
Michael Flynn was fired from the Trump Administration after it was revealed he had telephone conversations with Sergey Kislyak in December 2016. Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the Trump Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had private meetings in his office with Sergey Kislyak that he did not disclose in his confirmation hearings, that he says he forgot about.
Jeff Sessions also allegedly met with Sergey Kislyak in July 2016 at a Heritage Foundation event. CNN noted that another Republican Congress member, Dana Rohrabacher dismisses Jeff Sessions perjury claims.
“You’re trying to make this look like Attorney General Sessions is doing something sinister because he forgot that he’d had one extra conversation with the Russian ambassador.”
But to many, Dana Rohrabacher is a Congress member with his own Russian connections. Politico calls Dana Rohrabacher “Putin’s favorite Congressman” who “once arm-wrestled with Putin.” The New York Times also noted that in 2012, Dana Rohrabacher was warned by the FBI that Russian spies were targeting him for recruitment.
Regarding Jeff Sessions and the allegations that he is violating his recusal status of the Trump Russia probe, and that he had a third meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a Department of Justice spokesperson is referring all questions to Robert Mueller the special prosecutor appointed to the Trump Russia investigation.
Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify with the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, about events related to his sudden departure from the FBI. Whether or not James Comey will testify about Jeff Sessions relative to Trump Russia investigation remains to be seen.
[Feature Image by Sam Owens/AP Images]