I just flew in from Moscow, and boy are my arms tired.
Okay, it didn’t get quite that bad, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions broke into a bit of a stand-up act at an event hosted by the Federalist Society last night and let’s just say that he probably shouldn’t quit his day job. Clearly the AG is getting a bit tired of all of the Russia, Russia, Russia questions, particularly when it comes to whether or not there were any “meetings” with them. He decided to open his remarks with a couple of one-liners on the subject. (Washington Post)
The attorney general’s got jokes.
Three days after the top U.S. law enforcement official was grilled on Capitol Hill over his knowledge of Trump campaign dealings with Russians, Jeff Sessions opened a speech at the National Lawyers Convention in D.C. on Friday by asking if Russia’s former ambassador was in attendance — or anyone at all who had visited his country.
“Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room?” Sessions said, drawing laughter from a standing-room-only crowd. “Any Russians? Anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia, so …”
Since everyone loves a good stand-up routine we may as well check out the video. It’s only 40 seconds long and I have to admit that his timing isn’t too bad for an amateur. He knows when to leave some space after a zinger to allow the laughter to build and then pop in with the follow-up.
The press is already having a field day with this, insinuating that it’s somehow disrespectful or an indicator that Sessions isn’t taking the congressional investigations seriously enough. Honestly, I think he’s just getting tired of it all, particularly when the Democrats keep asking the same questions over and over again somehow expecting to get a different response.
The press is all too glad to pile on. In the WaPo’s coverage of last night’s speech, they couldn’t resist linking to one of their previous investigative pieces from the spring, describing how Sessions “twice met with [Sergey] Kislyak during the campaign” after denying having any communications with the Russians. As usual, they’re being very careful and too clever by half with those characterizations.
Saying Sessions had “met with” someone is technically true in one instance (an official dinner), but it would have been more accurate to simply have said. “met.” An even better description could have been, was in the same room with.
The other instance was an actual meeting, but Sessions was being asked about discussions involving the campaign. He met with Kislyak as part of his duties as a top-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. While it technically happened “during the campaign” Sessions was not working for Trump at the time, aside from being considered an advisor and was still holding down a full-time gig in the Senate. But hey… don’t let that get in the way of a good story.
So since simply being in the same room as someone from Russia is now grounds for anyone in the Trump administration to be hauled before a panel for some grilling, Sessions’ choice of opening jokes isn’t all that surprising. And he got some decent laughs from a generally sympathetic crowd at the Federalist Society.
But as I said, he probably shouldn’t quit his day job.