U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey and Sean Patrick Maloney are both demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign in the wake of revelations that he had met with the Russian ambassador during President Donald J. Trump’s campaign.
The two Democrats and others on the national level, including some Republicans, had also called for Sessions to recuse himself from any FBI, or other, investigations of reported Russian meddling in the fall elections.
That part of the matter became moot Thursday night when, at a hastily organized news conference in Washington, D.C., he did, multiple media reports said.
The New York Times was reported late Thursday that Sessions had removed himself from any inquiries aimed at alleged Russian meddling.
Sessions acknowledged that he had met with Russia's top envoy twice, once at a sit-down meeting in his office in September while he was a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee, a couple of months before the vote, The New York Times report said.
Sessions said he “didn’t recall” when asked if he and the ambassador had talked about Trump or the upcoming election, The New York Times reported.
Sessions told The New York Times that he decided to recuse himself after meeting with senior career officials at the Justice Department.
Lowey and Maloney are still calling for an independent, bipartisan investigation into the controversy.
Lowey said she was “deeply troubled” that Sessions “appears to have lied under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his ties to Russian officials.”
A npr.org report said Thursday that Sessions, who was part of Trump's inner circle, had also hobnobbed with the envoy after giving a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.
Lowey, calling the meetings “shocking and unacceptable,” said she had written to the attorney general last month expressing “deep concern” about the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia both during the campaign and after the election.
She said she has also called for the appointment of a special counsel.
Lowey said several Republicans had broken ranks to demand that Sessions recuse himself, referring specifically to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz.
However, the congresswoman added, developments since have made it apparent that recusal alone will no longer cut it.
Sessions, as attorney general, is “the highest law enforcement official in the country and must be truly independent,” Lowey said.
“He must resign and a bipartisan commission should be established to maintain trust in our law enforcement,” Lowey said.
Sessions had already been on thin ice with Maloney before the Russian revelations.
“Jeff Sessions’ opposition to equal rights already made him unfit to serve, but he lied under oath – he has got to go,” the congressman said.
The Cold Spring resident, who is openly gay, has led the fight in the House to protect LGBT rights.
Maloney added that everyone needs to “look at the bigger picture here and figure out why he perjured himself and if there is more to this story.”
“We need a no-kidding independent investigation into Russian hacking and influence. What are they hiding?" Maloney asked.
The Bronx-born Lowey represents 17th Congressional District. It includes central and northwestern Westchester County and all of Rockland County. She is the ranking member on the House Committee on Appropriations.
Maloney serves in the 18th Congressional District. It includes all of Orange and Putnam counties, as well as parts of southern Dutchess County and northeastern Westchester County.
Trump, who owns an estate in Bedford, also owns Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville. The Trump name also adorns Trump Tower At City Center in White Plains, Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, Trump Park Residences in Yorktown and the Donald J. Trump State Park on the Westchester/Putnam border.