(Caroline – @rvawonk on Twitter – did the LexisNexis research that led to this rant, and gets full credit for it…this is the abridged version.)
Because talking points and soundbites seldom paint much of a picture, let’s put this whole Jeff Sessions thing into the context of what was happening around it at the time. Pay specific attention to the dates – they tell the lions’ share of the story, here.
Sessions’ second meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak was on September 8th.
Three days prior to that meeting, Obama and Putin were meeting in China at the G20 summit, discussing the sanctions that had been imposed on Russia on September 1st as a result of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine – where Putin was quoted as saying that they “did not discuss it in detail because I see no sense in discussing matters of this sort” – and clearly wasn’t pleased with the outcome.
On September 7th, DNI James Clapper publicly suggested for the first time that Russia was likely behind the DNC hack.
The following day – September 8th – the same day that Sessions met with the Ambassador – Trump told Larry King on RT (Russia Today) that he didn’t think that the Russians were behind the hack, and that it was Democratic propoganda. Later, both Trump and Pence were quoted in separate venues (interview with Matt Lauer on Today and in the NYT) praising Putin’s leadership style in contrast with President Obama.
And…as if by magic…after the Sessions/Kislyak meeting, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov releases a statement saying that “Moscow expects Washington to display political will on building good relations with Russia after the Presidential elections.”
So to recap – roughly a week earlier, in the aftermath of the G20 summit, Putin won’t even comment about the sanctions discussion and is notably agitated, and miraculously – a week later – his spokesman thinks everything’ll be coming up roses after the election.
THEN – five days later – on the 14th – the DNC emails were released to WikiLeaks.
If you want to read the supporting research on this timeline, pop over to Twitter and take a peek. She’s on top of this.