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Every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee just demanded a criminal investigation of Jeff Sessions

On Thursday, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing Phillips requesting an "immediate criminal investigation" into statements made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing. The letter cited recent revelations Sessions met twice with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the United States, during the presidential campaign, despite saying under oath during his hearing that he "did not have communications with the Russians."

Sessions has defended his response, saying he met with Kislyak in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as a campaign representative; Sessions at times appeared as a surrogate for President Trump during the election. But the Democrats contended Sessions' statement was "disingenuous at best," noting the question did not specifically ask about campaign-related meetings. "His efforts to downplay the contacts as ordinary business for a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee also seem questionable given that other members of the committee have not indicated that they had similar meetings with the Russians," the Democrats wrote in the letter.

The letter goes on to suggest Sessions' statements under oath could "potentially implicate a number of criminal laws including Lying to Congress and Perjury." A former chief ethics lawyer to former President George W. Bush is cited as saying "misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one's contacts with the Russians is a good way to go to jail."

Several top Democrats have called for Sessions' resignation, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Sessions should recuse himself from investigations relating to Trump aides' contact with Russia. Sessions maintained in a statement he'd "never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign," and dismissed allegations otherwise as "false."

Read the Democrats' letter in full below. Becca Stanek