This is what happens when you ignore Coretta Scott King.
Last night, after most nightly news shows had already aired, after a good portion of the country had already gone to bed, something deeply disturbing was revealed. We learned that a man lied under oath. In this country, we call that perjury, and it’s not just a violation of court policy, it’s a crime.
Tens of thousands of people have gone to jail for lying under oath. When Black folk lie under oath, they go to prison.
As you may recall, Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones went to prison for lying under oath about using performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2005, the rapper Lil Kim went to federal prison for lying under oath.
But 31 years ago, all the way back in 1986, Coretta Scott King warned this nation about the questionable character of a man named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III.
At that time, Sessions was being considered for an appointment as a federal judge, but Coretta Scott King was so disturbed that she penned a 10-page letter detailing why such an appointment would be dangerous for this nation. She questioned his commitment not just to voting rights and civil rights, but to good judgment and common decency.
“Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream,” King said in her letter.
And so, 31 years ago, the United States Senate decided that Sessions could not be trusted as a federal judge. He never got the position.
31 years later, he is now the Attorney General of the United States, and was just caught lying under oath.
As you no doubt know by now, something very peculiar is going on with Donald Trump and Russia. His National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned in disgrace, after it was discovered that he lied repeatedly about his communications with Russian officials – serving the shortest term of any National Security Advisor in American history.
As late as last year, and frequently over the past few years, Trump has said that he knows Vladimir Putin well, that they have a relationship and that they have influence with one another. Now that he is President he denies any such relationship.
It is now widely accepted that Russia hacked the Democratic Party and did everything it could to influence the outcome of the U.S. election.
That is just one of many reasons why it is so damn disturbing that Sessions, who is not a Marion Jones or a Lil Kim, but the sitting Attorney General of the United States of America, the top law enforcement official in our country, plain as day lied under oath during his confirmation hearings.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken, during the hearings, told Sessions of a new report that surrogates for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign frequently met with Russian government officials throughout the campaign.
And with a smug look of confidence, Sessions looked right at Franken and said, “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Except he did.
Not years before he gave this testimony, but just months before he gave it, Sessions, this past July, and again this past September, met with Russian government officials. That he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth during his confirmation hearing, but then lied twice about meeting with the Russians just months earlier, is not just wrong, it’s criminal.
Jeff Sessions should resign immediately. If he does not resign, he should be fired. Then, he should prosecuted for perjury and a full, unbiased investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia should be launched. It is suspicious that the very thing Trump’s Cabinet officials keep getting caught lying about is Russia. But this is not just about Russia, it’s about integrity, about honesty and fairness.
Coretta Scott King did not trust Jeff Sessions 31 years ago. In voting him in as Attorney General anyway, her words were ignored, but the chickens have now come home to roost. Jeff Sessions was a scoundrel then and he’s a scoundrel now, as phony as a $3 dollar bill. This controversy will not go away and we all must demand, together, in the spirit of our ancestors, that he be removed from office immediately.