The Jury Talks Back


Is It Just Me, or Is That Sessions Story Much Ado About Nothing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:30 am

Let’s review the central allegation of the Washington Post‘s latest “bombshell” on Jeff Sessions:

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

In other words, the allegation is that Sessions’s account differs from that of Kislyak’s. Gee, why might a Russian mischaracterize his conversations with a top campaign official like Sessions? Can you think of any reasons?

If Kislyak didn’t know he was being monitored, he might want to make his conversations sound more important than they actually were.

But what if Kislyak did know he was being monitored? Indeed, there’s no reason to assume he didn’t know. Someone in his position would have to assume his conversations are constantly monitored. And in that case, imagine the chaos that he could cause if Americans were to believe him over Sessions. Why, he’d be laughing behind his hand!

And indeed, if you read far enough into the article, it admits that the anonymous “officials” leaking all this stuff said as much, and “acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.” What’s more:

Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.

You don’t say!

So we have 1) a story based on anonymous sources that 2) even if true, does not mean Sessions lied.


All this is very interesting, I suppose . . . to Beltway insiders. But the American people don’t care about it very much — and nowhere near as much as the media does. Jon Gabriel did a very interesting analysis a few days ago, looking at the issues that Americans say they care about, and comparing that to the issues that are given time on Big Media. The results have to be seen to be believed:


If we spent half the time talking about the treachery of Shelly Capito and Lisa Murkowski that we spent lambasting our Attorney General because his statements have been contradicted by a lying Russian, we might actually get something accomplished on health care.


[Cross-posted at RedState.]


  1. One of the requirements for this story to be true is that the Russians are magnificently incompetent when it comes to security. And that simply is not true. It’s vastly more likely that this was transmitted by means they believed we’d intercept.

    Now, why might Russia do something like that? Well, they have a long history of doing things simply to sow chaos, and that fits into that agenda perfectly.

    More likely in this case is I think it’s a different enemy (the WaPo) just trying to sow chaos via creating things out of thin air, yet again.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/22/2017 @ 3:46 pm

  2. My favorite ‘Russian security’ story is when they launched Vostok 1 in April, 1961. The flight was going to be totally controlled from the ground, not by Gagarin, for the one orbit trip because the party brass feared he might decide to defect West. When Gagarin pointed out to ‘Chief Designer’ Korolev he might have to take over in case of trouble, Korolev gave him the four digit code to unlock the system from ground control and Gagarin scrawled on the wall of his capsule.

    Comment by DCSCA — 7/22/2017 @ 4:44 pm

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