Robert Mueller’s Interview with Jeff Sessions; Palestinians Boycott Pence

Robert Mueller’s Questions for Jeff Sessions

Last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as part of the Justice Department’s probe into Russian efforts to meddle with the 2016 election. Jeff Sessions, an early supporter of Trump, was involved throughout Trump’s campaign, and is a significant witness in this investigation.

Mueller’s team hopes to get answers from Jeff Sessions for the following questions:

  • Why did Sessions fail to disclose his meetings with Russian Senior Diplomat Sergey Kislyak and others? (In March of 2017, Sessions recused himself from the investigation after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose the fact that he had had meetings with Russian officials.)
  • What, exactly, went on during the 2016 Donald Trump Campaign? Was there collusion with a foreign adversary?
  • Why Did Donald Trump fire FBI Director James Comey? Jeff Sessions was involved in the decision to fire Comey, and wrote the memo recommending the firing. Did Trump, Sessions, or anyone else try to obstruct justice by firing Comey? (Trump had pressured Comey to end the Russia investigation, but Comey did not comply. Was Comey later fired because he refused to squelch the Russia investigation? Or was he fired because the Trump administration was unhappy with how he had handled Hillary’s use of a private server for her emails?

Jeff Sessions is the only known current Trump cabinet member to be interviewed by Mueller’s special counsel. Some speculate that the Sessions interview signals that the investigation is nearing an end. Others, however, say that Mueller’s questioning of Sessions is just the beginning.

AG Jeff Sessions Interviewed in Russia Probe | CBS News [2018-01-23]

Does Sessions Interview Signal Russia Probe is Wrapping Up? | Fox News [2018-01-23]

Palestinians Boycott Mike Pence

Palestinian leaders refused to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Israel. They have boycotted Pence in protest of Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and to move the U.S. Embassy there.

Many Palestinians, aware of Pence’s brand of American evangelical Christianity, accuse Pence of using religion to shape diplomatic policy. For evangelical Christians, Israel, particularly Jerusalem, figures significantly in biblical “end times” doctrine.

Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO official, said, “He brought to bear his ideological fundamentalist literalist interpretation of the bible in order to punish the Palestinians and reward the aggressive Israeli occupier. This is entirely unacceptable. It is not only illegal, it is immoral, it is inhuman.”

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Chief Negotiator, said “The Messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists, and has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem, rather than the solution.”

Many American Evangelical Christians believe that all Christians support Israel’s position in the Israeli-Palestinian conversation. But in Israel, Christian leaders – not just Muslims – don’t welcome Pence, either.

Rev. Mitri Raheb, of Dar Al Kalima University College, calls Pence a Christion Zionist. “Americans are interested in Armageddon and wars. Instead of focusing on liberation, they’re interested in occupation.”

During his visit to Jerusalem, Mike Pence cited the fact that in the past, the U.S. helped Israel to make peace with Egypt and Jordan, two difficult elements of this conflict. Those treaties have lasted, and it was because both sides were willing to sit down and negotiate face to face.

Mike Pence’s presence, however, reminds Palestinians of Trump’s recent Jerusalem decision – one that had previously been considered a final step in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. That, paired with the recognition of Pence’s evangelical slant, has made the idea of beginning a bridge to negotiations with Israel unpalatable to Palestinians.

Palestinian Leaders Say Pence’s Faith is Shaping Policy | Fox News [2018-01-23]

Palestinians Boycott Mike Pence’s Visit to Israel | Al Jazeerah English [2018-01-22]

Vice President Pence in Israel | The White House [2018-01-24]

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