Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down amid reports that the former senator failed to disclose meetings he’d had with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the election.
“It would be better for the country if he’d resign,” Schumer said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. He also argued that the attorney general should recuse himself from ongoing congressional probes of Russia’s meddling in the election should he refuse to step down.
The Senate Democratic leader said he believed there was “nothing inappropriate” about a senator meeting with the Russian ambassador, but that it was “very inappropriate” to mislead Congress.
He also called on the Department of Justice to “immediately appoint a special prosecutor” to lead an investigation into Russia’s role in the U.S. presidential election.
Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice last year, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. One of the meetings occurred in the former senator’s office. Sessions didn’t tell lawmakers about the meetings when asked during his January confirmation hearing whether any of Donald Trump’s campaign officials had had contact with Russian officials.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters on Thursday that Sessions should “either recuse himself or resign.”
Feinstein added that for Sessions to “under oath disavow any connection, any meeting, any discussion, is highly problematic.”
A growing number of Republicans are joining Democrats in calling on Sessions to step away from federal investigations into whether Russia interfered in the election, including House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho).
Senate Republicans, however, have resisted calls for Sessions to step aside. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters it was too premature to say so.