U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has come under attack in recent days after it was revealed that he had met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during Donald Trump's campaign for president. However a spokeswoman for Sessions has denied that he was being untruthful when he claimed at his confirmation hearing for Attorney-General that he had no contact with Russian officials.
Sessions said there that "he never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues" of the US presidential campaign. However, a Washington Post report disclosed that, while still US Senator, he spoke twice last year with Russia's ambassador and did not disclose these meetings during the hearing.
Sessions was a key player in Trump's campaign, serving as head of Trump's national security advisory committee.
Sessions' spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, maintained that his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak were held in Sessions' capacity as a senator on the Armed Services Committee and had no relation to the campaign. However other members of the committee, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the committee's chairman ,did not meet with Kisylak and even Flores admitted that she did not know whether any of Sessions' colleagues on the committee met with Kislyak.
Flores still claimed however that "there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer" to senators when asked at his confirmation hearing about a CNN report claiming the Russian government and the Trump campaign exchanged information. At the confirmation Sessions answered that "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."
Flores stated that while he was a senator, Sessions "conducted 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German, and Russian ambassadors. He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign - not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee."
A member of the Trump administration said the ambassadors made superficial comments about the 2016 elections to Sessions but that the election wasn't the main thrust of the conversations.
While Sessions claims that his contact with Kislyak was not connected to the Trump campaign, revelations of the ambassador's conversations with National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn led to Flynn's resignation last month. Flynn and Kislyak spoke on the phone multiple times on Dec. 29, when then-President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interference in the presidential election.
In December, the CIA concluded Russia was meddling in the U.S. election to benefit Trump by hacking into the Democratic National Committee's servers and the email account of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta. Democrats, and some Republicans, have called for congressional investigations to probe whether the Trump campaign exchanged information with the Russians.