Student Op-Eds

Recusal is Not Enough

Rachel Gombatz ’19 – Inside Politics Participant


On Tuesday, January 10th, 2017, Alabama Senator, Jeff Sessions, testified before a confirmation hearing concerning his nomination to become the Attorney General of the United States. Before doing so, he took an oath, swearing to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And then he lied. I am not sure, however, what is more disturbing: that this top official of the United States government was in undisclosed contact with a member of the Russian government during the presidential campaign or that he, the standing leader of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, lied about it under oath. In any case, this conduct is disgraceful and it is incontestably unacceptable for an American who claims to represent the values of this nation.

On Thursday, March 2, Sessions held a news conference to announce his self-imposed recusal from any investigations concerning Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. This “decision”, however, must not be seen as to any great credit to the Attorney General as pressures from outside actors left him no choice. This action is not an honorable deed to uphold the dignity of a government investigation but rather an attempt by Sessions to salvage his public image and cover up his wrongdoing. For this representative of the United States government has not and will not admit to the misleading and unlawful nature of his statement at the confirmation hearing. This was made explicitly clear by his conceded remark during his news conference upholding that he “never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign”. What Sessions does not appear to comprehend is that the nature of his meetings is no longer the only concern of the American people. Any way it is framed, what is of monumental significance is that the Attorney General lied under oath when he denied any communication with the country of Russia.

As it stands, the United States is at a crossroads which will define the character of this nation. After the report of the Washington Post uncovered the meetings between Sessions and the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, it was only a matter of time before the “decision” concerning his recusal was made. Now, it is time for the real decision to be delivered. If the United States wishes to uphold its democratic value of dignified truth, the Attorney General will resign. If not, then perhaps there has come to be an objective which is more important than the foundational pillars of this nation.


The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.