U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday that any claims he colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election were an “appealing and detestable lie”.

His remarks came in a testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee which is probing the alleged ties between Russia and officials in President Donald Trump's campaign.

In his remarks, Sessions denied rumors that he had a third, previously unreported private meeting with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. Reports in the media suggested that the meeting might have occurred at a Russia-friendly foreign policy speech given by then-candidate Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in 2016.

“I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” Sessions stressed, according to The Hill. “I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian official. If any brief interaction occurred in passing with Russian ambassador, I do not remember.”

He fired back on any suggestion that he may have been involved in any coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, saying, “I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country that I have served with honor for 35 years, to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie.”

Sessions recently recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigations into Russia’s meddling in the presidential race following reports that he had met with Russia’s ambassador twice during the campaign.

Fired FBI Director James Comey thrust Sessions back into the spotlight of the Russia controversy with his testimony before the same Senate panel last week.

Comey said federal law enforcement officials had expected Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation, strongly suggesting he knew more than has been publicly revealed about Sessions’s contacts with Moscow.

Comey also claimed in his testimony that Sessions was silent when he “implored” him to prevent one-on-one conversations with President Trump, reporting that he told Sessions that such interactions were “inappropriate and should never happen.”

Sessions contradicted that account on Tuesday, echoing a previous Justice Department statement claiming that he had responded by saying that the FBI and Department of Justice "needed to be careful about following appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House.”