Fox & Friends Plays Defense For Jeff Sessions After Reports He Lied To Congress About Talking To Russian Ambassador
Fox Hosts Agree That "The Timing Is Interesting" Of The Sessions Reporting Because "Donald Trump Had A Great Speech"
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From the March 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Apparently as a U.S. Senator, [Attorney General Jeff Sessions] met twice in the last year with the Russian ambassador. Once he was at a Heritage Foundation event at National Harbor. There were lots of ambassadors there. There were a bunch of politicians. Apparently when he was walking off the stage, Mr. Sessions, the Russian ambassador walked up to him and shook his hand, and they said --
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): One of 23 ambassadors at the Heritage meeting, which was taking place at the RNC.
DOOCY: At National Harbor.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): So it wasn't like a specific one-on-one meeting? He was meeting with lots of these ambassadors once?
KILMEADE: After his speech.
DOOCY: And then there was -- he did have 25 conversations with ambassadors from around the world as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services [Committee], and it does sound as if he did have one meeting as a U.S. Senator with the Russian ambassador in his office. But the headline is the Democrats want blood. And they say, "Look, he can't investigate the Russia stuff because he's got a tie to the Russians."
BRIAN KILMEADE: All right so The New York Times has a story today that said the Obama administration had scrambled to keep this so-called intelligence together and keep it from the Trump administration in order to, I guess, a lot of people feel, make sure that they can move forward with an investigation, maybe without the Trump administration knowing. Even the State Department led by John Kerry also took part in intelligence sharing. They claim the Dutch and British also have information about meetings between Trump officials and -- they claim to -- Trump officials and Russian officials.
EARHARDT: Is the article suggesting then, in your opinion, that they're releasing this information after Donald Trump had a great speech and the country's talking about that?
KILMEADE: Not The New York Times or Washington Post story, I'll tell you that. But the timing is interesting.
DOOCY: The timing is suspicious.
EARHARDT: The timing's interesting. Well Jeff Sessions, he released a statement. He says, "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."
DOOCY: Right. And so the whole thing is, you know, when he was being grilled for confirmation, it's like, "Oh, you know, we asked you about Russia." He said, "Look, I was a U.S. Senator, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee," that is to say. "It was never as a campaign person." The White House has just issued another statement. Here it is. "This is the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is consistently, entirely consistent," that is to say, "with his testimony." And that is absolutely accurate.
EARHARDT: All right.
KILMEADE: But yeah, whether this is one of the officials coming out or this story going to get any bigger? Other networks are doing special programming around this because they'd rather talk about anything but what went on with that speech yesterday. However, if Jeff Sessions met with the ambassador, like he would with the Armed Services Committee, and he was as blunt with that ambassador as he has in the past when the Russians took Crimea, when they started carving up Ukraine, he could have easily avoided this by telling [Sen.] Al Franken [(D-MN)], when asked somewhat directly, "Oh yeah, I met with the ambassador. Nothing to do -- it happened to be in September and I was working -- when I was senator."
EARHARDT: "When I was a senator and it was my job."
KILMEADE: "And I will -- of course I was the first supporter maybe in Washington of among lawmakers of Donald Trump, but all I talked about was," fill in the blank.
EARHARDT: But he wasn't lying because he said, "I didn't talk with a Russian official about the campaign."
DOOCY: It was in his capacity as a U.S. Senator, not as a campaign surrogate. So that is the difference. But, nonetheless, Democrats smell blood and so they're going to -- you're going to see this a lot today. We just wanted to explain from the get-go what's going on.