This 2010 photo of Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi meeting with Russian officials -- including then-President Dmitriy Medvedev and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak -- emerged today as Pelosi leads calls for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down over alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.
In a press conference Thursday, Pelosi told reporters that Sessions had lied under oath -- a criminal offense -- when he failed to mention two encounters with Kislyak during Sessions' term as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Pelosi went on to say that Sessions' meetings with the Russian diplomat were not normal Senate business, noting she had "never met" with the Russian ambassador.
Sessions addressed the claims with remarks on Thursday, recusing himself from any potential conflicts of interest in the matter. "I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States," Sessions told reporters.
The Attorney General has maintained that his answer was truthful, and that the question asked at his hearing was specifically about allegations of collusion between the campaign and Russia, which he and the administration flatly deny.
Pelosi is not the first Democrat caught misleading the public this week about meetings with Russian officials. Senators Claire McCaskill and Chuck Schumer have also spoken of their outrage over allegations the administration has met with Russian officials, and both have been shown to conduct similar meetings to those in question by Sessions, Gen. Flynn and others.
McCaskill's own tweets called her statements into question, and President Trump himself tweeted a photo of Schumer and Putin looking chummy over some coffee and donuts.
The White House released a statement following Sessions' press conference on Thursday. "Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional," President Trump said in the statement, later tweeted and posted to Facebook as well.
"This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!"
President Trump shared the photo of Pelosi's Russian meeting on Twitter, again calling for an investigation as with the photo of Schumer and Putin.