Tl;dr – Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about talking to Russian officials during Trump’s campaign. Sessions is in charge of the department tasked with investigating the scandal. Democrats and Republicans have called for him to resign. Sessions has since recused himself, meaning he is stepping back from Russian cases, but will continue as attorney general.
Jeff Sessions is attorney general of the United States, as chosen by President Trump. He’s been in the news recently since the Washington Post reported he met with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S., twice during Trump’s campaign. This is alarming for two reasons.
One: Former Alabama Senator Sessions was intimately involved in Trump’s campaign, a campaign already accused of Russian assistance. Sessions was so involved in the campaign that he helped Trump pick Mike Pence as his running mate back in July, and had a top aide help formulate Trump’s immigration policy. Sessions even chaired Trump’s national security advisory committee.
Two: Attorney General Sessions was asked during his nomination proceedings if he had ever corresponded with Russian officials. While under oath, Sessions strongly denied ever doing so. Sessions was explicitly asked if he had “been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government” during the election, to which he replied “No.” Sessions also explicitly stated “I did not have communications with the Russians,” and as of Monday, Sessions said he did not mislead Congress during his hearing.
It’s not a crime to speak with the Russian ambassador as legislator. What is a crime is to lie about doing so under oath. Further, Sessions is in charge of the department tasked with investigating cases like this. In the midst of calls for his resignation from Democrats, Session has recused himself only from his department’s investigation into his conversations with the Russian ambassador.