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Oregon Democrats Call On Jeff Sessions To Resign Amid Russia Allegations

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to step away from investigations of Russian connections to the Trump Administration.

But that's not satisfying Democrats in Oregon’s congressional delegation. They have joined the condemnation of Sessions and his connections to Russian officials.

Sessions told senators during his confirmation hearings to run the Department of Justice that he had not spoken to Russian officials.

Now, the DOJ has confirmed Sessions met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. as a senator on the Armed Services Committee.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader are all calling on Sessions to resign.

Schrader sent a Twitter message Thursday morning calling Sessions' actions "inexcusable."

"Our new AG lied to Senate about his contact w/ Russian. We need special prosecutor in the Russian Probe. Sessions should resign," Schrader tweeted.

Merkley made a similar call on Twitter: "Sessions, under oath, misled Congress about his conversations with Russia. He should resign."

Shortly after that, Bonamici issued a press release.

“Reports are now clear that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. He can no longer be trusted to lead the nation’s top law enforcement agency,” she said.

And Blumenauer said if Sessions didn't resign, Congress should take steps to force out the attorney general.

“He should resign his position, and if he doesn’t resign, the House should immediately begin investigative proceedings that could lead to his removal from office,” said the Portland-area Democrat.

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Peter DeFazio have focused on bringing in a special prosecutor, rather than pressing Sessions to resign.

"I am pleased that Attorney General Sessions has said he will recuse himself from any inquiry into these connections, but this alone is not adequate," said DeFazio. "We must do an independent investigation of these disturbing allegations.”

Oregon's senior senator, Wyden, also suggested resignation as the "usual" path under the circumstances.

"Lying in your confirmation hearing is usually a recipe for resignation," Wyden said in a statement Thursday. "Right now, I’m focused on ensuring there’s a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation. I’m flabbergasted some Republicans are trying to walk back even the need to recuse himself."

In southwest Washington, Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler joined Republican leaders in suggesting the attorney general recuse himself.

"It's important that this process is transparent and objective, both in appearance and in practice," Herrera-Beutler said.

After Sessions announced he would recuse himself from investigations related to the Trump campaign, Herrera-Beutler's office told OPB it was "the right course of action."

President Trump had pushed back against the calls for Sessions to step away from the investigation or resign. The president said Thursday he has "full confidence" in Sessions.


This article was originally published at 11:08 a.m.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. with comments from Oregon politicians.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.