This suddenly got strange:
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 13, 2017
The first topic Attorney General Jeff Sessions wouldn’t address before an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee: whether he and the president have discussed pardons.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the panel, asked Sessions about the topic in his first round of questioning.
“I’m not able to comment on conversations with high officials within the White House,” Sessions responded. He said he wasn’t invoking executive privilege — that would be the president’s right, not his — but rather respecting that internal discussions should sometimes be kept private.
Sessions later clarified he was not trying to suggest pardon conversations had taken place; he said he was simply not willing to detail his talks with the president. He had hinted in his opening statement that he would do as much.
“I cannot and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president,” he said.
It seems like Warner’s purpose was more to put the pardon idea into play and then use Sessions’ refusal (rightful refusal, at that) to discuss it as a validation that pardons had been discussed. As the president has plenary power when it comes to pardons–and it would be completely legal for him to pardon everyone on his campaign today if he had a mind to–it is hard to see where this is going beyond creating another internet meme about “obstruction of justice.”
Weird to see the Attorney General testifying to Congress. After the last couple, I just assumed they all took the 5th
— Sean Spicier (@sean_spicier) June 13, 2017