Friday, May 26, 2017
DOJ fires back at CNN: Sessions was 'instructed' not to list meetings connected with Senate activities
by Anna Giaritelli |
The Justice Department defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions from a CNN report alleging he failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials in his background check before assuming office.
"As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff. In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General's staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities," Justice Department Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior said in a statement Wednesday evening.
A CNN report published Wednesday stated Sessions failed to disclose meeting with Russian officials and other foreign contacts on a security clearance form he filled out while going through the Senate confirmation process.
Sessions was asked to share "any contact" he had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said, according to the report. However, he skipped over two meetings with Russian officials as well as any others that are not yet known.
Sessions did reportedly have a list of a year's worth of meetings, but was told by an FBI employee who helped him fill out the form to remove any meetings he had pertaining to his role as senator.
On March 1, it was revealed Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on two occasions during the presidential election last year despite testifying before the Senate that he had not had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
As a result of the findings and the ensuing controversy, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. The Justice Department later selected former FBI chief Robert Mueller to handle the probe.
Melania Trump reveals she is Catholic: The First Lady shares her faith with the world after meeting the Pope as the first Catholic to live in White House since JFK
- Melania Trump's spokeswoman confirms that she's a Catholic
- The first lady met with Pope Francis on Wednesday at the Vatican, where he blessed a rosary for her
- Then she went to a Vatican-affiliated pediatric hospital where she met with children, prayed in a chapel and laid flowers at the feet of a statue of Mary
- One boy she met, who needed a donor heart, will get his organ transplant, the hospital learned just hours after Melania's visit
- It's unclear when Melania became a Catholic or when she was baptized
- She and her sister weren't baptized as infants and didn't make their First Holy Communion along with other kids their age
- Her father was a member of the Communist Party in Slovenia in order to work, and the party was official atheist
- Melania opened a February presidential rally in Florida by surprising the president with a recitation of the Lord's Prayer
PUBLISHED: 17:45 EDT, 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:31 EDT, 25 May 2017
When Melania Trump recited The Lord's Prayer before a Melbourne, Florida presidential rally in February, the Internet went hog wild.
Now we know one reason why the first lady began with 'Let us pray' and 'Our Father who art in heaven' when she introduced the president that evening: She's a practicing Roman Catholic.
Her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham confirmed that to DailyMail.com on Wednesday, hours after Pope Francis blessed a rosary for her at the Vatican.
The last Catholics to live in the White House were John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie. Melania and her son Barron will move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over the summer.
Mrs. Trump did more than just show up for a Papal audience.
She spent time in prayer at the Vatican-affiliated Bambino Gesù (Baby Jesus) Hospital, and laid flowers at the feet of a statue of the Madonna.
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She also prayed in the hospital chapel and read to a young Greek boy in need of a donor heart – holding his hand in the Intensive Care Unit while camera shutters snapped.
The almighty may have heard her.
'Upon landing in Belgium, I learned a young boy and his family who had been waiting for a heart transplant was informed that the hospital has found a donor,' she said in a statement.
'I read a book and held hands with this special little one just a few hours ago, and now my own heart is filled with joy over this news.'
The first lady later tweeted about the development with the hashtags '#Blessings' and '#Faith.'
In another tweet, she sent 'blessings to all' after her Papal audience.
Mrs. Trump told Pope Francis at the Vatican that she was looking forward to going to the hospital 'for the bambinos.' She later called the visit 'very moving.'
'To spend time speaking to and coloring with children who have such a positive spirit despite illness was an amazing gift,' she said.
'The time I spent with the little ones in the Intensive Care Unit is something I will never forget, and I will pray for each of them daily.'
It's unclear when Mrs. Trump became a Catholic. The president is a life-long Presbyterian, and they were married in a Florida Episcopal church.
Growing up as the daughter of a Communist Party member in rural Slovenia, her family maintained the outward appearances of being atheists, according to people in her childhood village of Sevnica who spoke to DailyMail.com in late 2015.
Accordingly, Melania and her sister were not baptized and did not make their First Holy Communion with other children their age.
It's still not clear when Mrs. Trump was baptized into the Catholic faith. Grisham did not immediately respond to a question about that detail.
But the Trumps have been in a reflective religious mood since arriving in Saudi Arabia last Saturday. That frame of mind persisted throughout their time in Israel.
The president addressed 55 world leaders from Arab and other Muslim-majority nations in Riyadh, imploring them to be part of 'a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.'
In Jerusalem he visited the famed Western Wall, slipping a written prayer between the centuries-old stones as custom permits.
He 'marveled at the monument to God's presence and man's perseverance,' he said Tuesday in a speech at the Israel Museum.
'I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God,' Trump told an audience of Jewish officials.
'This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of the human heart – to know and worship God.'
Trump issued a proclamation on Wednesday calling for a national 'day of prayer for permanent peace' on May 29, the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
'On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights,' he said.
'I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance,' Trump added.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4539392/Melania-Catholic-White-House-Kennedy.html#ixzz4i6JhraYC
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