Top Democrats are demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign after it was revealed he talked with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. twice during the presidential campaign last year, in what appears to contradict Sessions' sworn statements to Congress during his confirmation hearing.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that "Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign." She added: "There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians."
She later issued a statement trumpeting that 100 Democrats in the House have joined the call for Sessions' resignation.
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Sessions did recuse himself from any Trump campaign probes later Thursday.
In back-to-back press conferences Thursday, Pelosi and Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer ramped up their criticism.
"Because the Department of Justice should be above reproach, for the good of the country Attorney General Sessions should resign," Schumer said.
“We see that he himself needs an investigation for lying," Pelosi said. "It’s against the law and the top law enforcement officer should know that.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings were also among the prominent Democrats called for Sessions to resign, NBC News reported.
Still, not all Democrats went so far as to call for the nation's top law enforcement official to resign.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told CNN that he also met with Russia's ambassador in a group setting with colleagues and that is part of the job.
He said he would have disclosed that if he were questioned by congressional committee and Sessions is "going to have to talk about this."
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken also said Sessions must "come forward with the truth." Franken stopped short of demanding Sessions' resignation but called for an "independent prosecutor" to investigate any links the Trump campaign may have had with the Russian government.
At Sessions' confirmation hearing in January, Franken asked the then-Alabama senator what he would do if there was evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the 2016 White House race.
Sessions replied he was "unaware of those activities."
Franken told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday that Sessions' statements about his contacts with Moscow have been "contradictory."
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who joined her Democratic colleagues in calling for Sessions' resignation, wrote on Twitter that as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee she never received a call or request from the Russian ambassador for a meeting.
An editor with the conservative National Review Online then resurfaced two past tweets where McCaskill mentioned a meeting and call with Russia's ambassador.
McCaskill tweeted in a follow-up that four years ago the Russian ambassador attended a meeting with "many senators about international adoptions."