The announcement Thursday that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from any investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign — including any probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — was not enough for members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Sessions “should resign and restore credibility” to the Office of the Attorney General.
“How can our nation’s top law enforcement officer perform his duties when he himself regrets testimony he gave under oath?” Hanabusa said in a press release. “Not recalling specific political discussion with the Russian ambassador during the campaign season is not the same as ‘I did not have communications with the Russians.’”
“In order to reduce the divisiveness in our country and increase the people’s faith in our Justice Department, it would be best if Senator Sessions resigned,” Gabbard said on her Facebook page and on Twitter. “The sooner the better.”
Hawaii’s two Democratic senators did not go that far, but both want an independent investigation into the matter.
“The attorney general made the correct decision to recuse himself, but it is not sufficient,” said Mazie Hirono in a press release. “We need an independent investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to the Russian government.”
Hirono’s campaign also sent out an email asking supporters to join the call for an investigation.
“Not one — but two — of Trump’s most trusted advisors are now known to have met with and misled the public about their meetings with Russia,” she said. “And my fear is this may just be the tip of the iceberg.”
Update: Brian Schatz initially took a similar position. But on Friday he released a statement indicating that perhaps Sessions should step down.
“The Department of Justice has a unique position in our constitutional democracy that relies on trust and respect for the law,” he said. “Given the challenges that the Department faces with its investigation into Russia’s ties to the campaign and to this administration, it is essential that we have an Attorney General who has the full faith and confidence of the American people.”
Schatz continued: “Jeff Sessions has lost that trust, is operating under a cloud, and can no longer faithfully discharge his duties as Attorney General. Therefore, I ask that Attorney General Jeff Sessions give serious consideration to stepping down in order to restore the public’s trust in the Department of Justice.”
Last month, Trump’s national security adviser, Mike Flynn, was forced to resign after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence on Flynn’s December meeting with a high ranking Russian official.
Late Thursday, The New York Times reported that Flynn was also at a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador and that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was also at the meeting.
Tweets from Hawaii’s congresswomen:
“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Can it get more odd?