Washington, DC — The new revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled the public regarding his contact with Russian officials is the latest example of why Americans have a growing distrust for government. The Democracy Initiative, a coalition of 58 organizations representing 30 million members nationwide, calls on the President and Congress to take immediate action to demand Sessions’ resignation and to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. The American people want a government that upholds truth and transparency.
“The country’s highest officer for truth and justice has lied to the American people,” states Wendy Fields, executive director of the Democracy Initiative. “He gave sworn testimony about his communications with Russia. He should follow Flynn’s example and resign.”
As The Washington Post reported, and the attorney general’s spokesperson confirmed, then-senator Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice in 2016. This information directly contradicts Sessions’ sworn testimony during his confirmation hearing where he said “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Further investigation shows that Sessions appears to be the lone member on the Senate Armed Services Committee to meet with Kislyak in 2016.
The Democracy Initiative believes a heightened sense of urgency and action by the President and Congress is required. In the 42 days since the start of the Trump Administration, three individuals involved with Trump’s campaign have been identified as having contacting with Russians during the 2016 election. This includes former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who was forced to resign. We call for an independent special investigation into Russian interference with U.S. elections.
Statements from Partner Organizations:
“If President Trump does not have the courage to call for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election then Congress must mandate it.” Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause
“In order to protect our clean air and water, we must have a functioning and transparent democracy free of outside interference, which is why we need an independent investigation into this administration’s interaction with Russia. Our democracy can never be permitted to come second to partisan politics.” Courtney Hight, Director of Sierra Club’s Democracy Program
“Being openly racist should have been enough to disqualify Jeff Sessions from becoming U.S. Attorney General. Now it’s come to light that he may have lied under oath about his contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. This is one more demonstration of Sessions’ gross unfitness for the job and his unwillingness to stand up for all Americans. Our democracy deserves better.” Rachel Rye Butler, Democracy Campaigner for Greenpeace
The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.