Sessions: My answers on Russia were 'correct'

Attorney General defends his answers about Russian contacts to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ben Ariel,

Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions
Reuters

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday defended his answers about Russian contacts to the Senate Judiciary Committee as "correct", reports CNN.

Sessions defended his response to Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken at his confirmation hearing in a letter the Department of Justice released Monday, saying his answer was "correct," and that he "did not mention communications (he) had had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them."

Sessions came under fire last week after it was revealed that he spoke twice with the Russian envoy last year and failed to tell senators during his confirmation hearing.

A spokeswoman for Sessions denied that he was being untruthful when he claimed at his confirmation hearing that he had no contact with Russian officials, but key Republicans called on Sessions to step aside.

Sessions later announced he would recuse himself from federal investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions maintains his meetings with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, were in his capacity as a senator and not related to the Trump campaign.

Sessions said in Monday’s letter that he "spoke briefly" to Kislyak on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July and also met with Kislyak in his office in September, a meeting that was attended by his Senate staff.

Sessions said he does not recall talking about the campaign.

"I do not recall any discussions with the Russian ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, regarding the political campaign on these occasions or any other occasion," he wrote in the letter quoted by CNN.

The Attorney General noted that Franken asked him during his confirmation hearing what he would do "if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign."

Sessions replied, "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn't have -- did not have communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it."

"I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian Ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them," Sessions said in his letter.

President Donald Trump has acknowledged that Sessions could have been more accurate in what he said about his contacts with Russian officials, but also blamed Democrats for blowing up the controversy over Sessions for political reasons.




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