The Courage of Our Convictions (for Perjury)

It seems pretty likely that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently committed a felony, which is a pretty compelling reason to remove him from his position at the head of our nation’s justice system. Specifically, it appears that he committed perjury by lying under oath. Under any reasonable interpretation, the case against him is pretty straightforward. During his confirmation hearings, he said, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that [i.e., the Trump] campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” But he did have communications with the Russians, in that he met with the Russian ambassador at least twice during the Trump campaign. This sounds a lot like perjury.

In the real world, perjury cases are pretty difficult to prove, which is probably usually a good thing. This article gives a pretty good rundown of the difficulties of pinning a perjury charge on Sessions for this issue. The long and short of it is that language is full of ambiguity. Did Sessions mean that he didn’t meet with the Russians as a Trump surrogate? Did he just forget about the meeting, like an idiot?1  These distinctions matter, from a legal standpoint.

Still, there was one famous case not too long ago in which these ambiguities were widely ignored by our legislative branch. The impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 rested largely on a perjury charge, in circumstances that were also fairly ambiguous—this is where we got Clinton’s famous line that “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”.2 But at the time, a lot of our legislators believed that ambiguities were not important, and that Clinton should be removed from office. Perhaps we should encourage our current Senators and Representatives to take a page from then-Alabama-Senator Jeff Sessions, and find now-Attorney-General Jeff Sessions guilty of perjury.

Fortunately, nine of the Senators who voted Clinton guilty of perjury are still in office. In the House, there are 26 remaining Representatives who cast the equivalent of “guilty” votes on a perjury charge.3   Their names appear below, along with contact information. We can safely assume that they all believe strongly in a very broad interpretation of this law, so it would be very unfortunate if they missed the chance to convict Sessions for meeting with Russian officials and then claiming under oath that he did not meet with Russian officials. To that end, if any of these people represents you (you can check your representative here), or if you have a phone, it only makes sense to contact them and urge them to hold fast to the principles they demonstrated in the Clinton era: find Jeff Sessions guilty of perjury, and do everything they can to remove him from office. To quote a longtime perjury-hawk, “the American people believe no one is above the law.”

Chamber Person Represents Phone Number for D.C. Office Other Contact Info
Senate John McCain Arizona (202) 224-2235
Senate Mike Crapo Idaho (202) 224-6142
Senate Chuck Grassley Iowa (202) 224-3744
Senate Pat Roberts Kansas (202) 224-4774
Senate Mitch McConnell Kentucky (202) 224-2541
Senate Thad Cochran Mississippi (202) 224-5054
Senate Jim Inhofe Oklahoma (202) 224-4721
Senate Orrin Hatch Utah (202) 224-5251
Senate Mike Enzi Wyoming (202) 224-3424
House Don Young Alaska at-large 202-225-5765
House Jim Sensenbrenner Wisconsin 5 202-225-5101
House Hal Rogers Kentucky 5 202-225-4601
House Chris Smith New Jersey 4 202-225-3765
House Joe Barton Texas 6 202-225-2002
House Lamar S. Smith Texas 21 202-225-4236
House Fred Upton Michigan 6 202-225-3761
House John Duncan Tennessee 2 202-225-5301
House Dana Rohrabacher California 48 202-225-2415
House Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Florida 27 202-225-3931
House Sam Johnson Texas 3 202-225-6673
House Ken Calvert California 42 202-225-1986
House Bob Goodlatte Virginia 6 202-225-5431
House Ed Royce California 39 202-225-4111
House Frank Lucas Oklahoma 3 202-225-5565
House Rodney Frelinghuysen New Jersey 11 202-225-5034
House Walter B. Jones Jr. North Carolina 3 202-225-3415
House Frank LoBiondo New Jersey 2 202-225-6572
House Mac Thornberry Texas 13 202-225-3706
House Robert Aderholt Alabama 4 202-225-4876
House Kevin Brady Texas 8 202-225-4901
House Kay Granger Texas 12 202-225-5071
House Pete Sessions Texas 32 202-225-2231
House John Shimkus Illinois 15 202-225-5271
House Steve Chabot Ohio 1 202-225-2216
House Mark Sanford South Carolina 1 202-225-3176

(Note: If you don’t immediately see any useful contact information in the linked sites, try scrolling down to the bottom of the page. A lot of these guys hide their office locations and phone numbers down there.)


1. This line of defense hinges on the idea that Sessions completely forgot meeting the ambassador of Russia, the country that was then all over the news for its suspicious involvement with the Trump campaign that Sessions was heavily promoting. In other words, Sessions is arguing that he is too stupid to be the Attorney General, rather than too criminal. 

2. Clinton was right about this. He made a present tense statement, “There’s nothing going on between us”, which was true at the time he said it. Compare Sessions’s claim that he meant he never met with the Russians “as a Trump surrogate”, which is not what he said. 

3. I’m referring to everyone who voted “Yea” on Article I of H.Res.611, as recorded here. It appears to me that Article II also dealt with a perjury charge, but since it failed I ignored it.