Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have to go back to Congress to explain why he didn’t recall a Trump campaign meeting where George Papadopoulos pitched a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Papadopoulos has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his own Russia contacts, including his meeting with a professor in London who touted his own Moscow connections and offered to help put together a Trump-Putin meeting.
Sessions didn’t recall any of his own Russia contacts during his Senate confirmation hearing, but was later revealed to have met with Russia’s former ambassador to the U.S
I SWEAR! Attorney General Jeff Sessions could have to testify again in Congress after revelations he was at a Trump campaign meeting where two participants say the idea of a Trump-Putin meeting got pitched
At the March 2016 meeting of Trump’s security team, Papadopoulos stated ‘that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,’ the New York Times reported, citing court documents quoting testimony from former campaign aide J.D. Gordon.
‘He went into the pitch right away,’ said Gordon, who attended the meeting. ‘He said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin,’ he said. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea of the meeting and shot it down, according to the Times.
Trump tweeted out a photo of that meeting. It shows the president and Sessions seated at opposite ends of a rectangular table. Papadopoulos is pictured just one seat away from Sessions and three seats away from the president.
Sessions oversaw the president’s team of national security advisors.
Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) denied any Russia contacts during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Sessions to become U.S. attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 10, 2017
Senior Democrats are now saying Sessions must come back to explain his omisions.
Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo told CNN Papadopoulos was just a ‘coffee boy,’ speaking on CNN. Trump had called in an ‘excellent guy’ in an interview with the Washington Post at the start of the campaign.
‘He now needs to come back before the Committee, in person, under oath, to explain why he cannot seem to provide truthful, complete answers to these important and relevant questions,’ said Vermont Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the Hill reported.
Former Trump policy adviser Carter Paige testified Thursday during a multi-hour grilling that he told Sessions in advance of a planned trip he took to Russia. He made the statement during a six-hour appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, CNN reported.
‘This is another example in an alarming pattern in which you, the nation’s top law enforcement official, apparently failed to tell the truth, under oath,” Franken wrote Sessions on Thursday
‘I don’t make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other,’ Conaway told the cable network. ‘If I were Sessions, I wouldn’t have recalled it either. It was just in passing. He was walking out of the room. A guy he had never met before, grabs him, ‘Hey, I’m out on the team. I changed my travel plans to go to Russia.”
Sessions testified during his confirmation hearing that he had no knowledge of Russia contacts by campaign aides. ‘I’m not aware of any of those activities,’ he said under questioning by Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota.
It was later revealed that Sessions had meetings with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, during the campaign.
‘This is another example in an alarming pattern in which you, the nation’s top law enforcement official, apparently failed to tell the truth, under oath,” Franken wrote Sessions on Thursday.
‘I don’t remember much about that meeting,’ Trump told reporters, speaking about the campaign security meeting that Sessions did not mention when asked about any campaign contacts with Russia
Papadopoulos attended a March 31 national security meeting with Trump and foreign policy advisors where he stated that he had connections that would help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, according to the information released by the government. Trump tweeted out a photo of the meeting at the time
PSST. THIS IS BEING RECORDED: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) (L) jokes with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill October 18, 2017 in Washington, DC
During his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said ‘I don’t remember’ or ‘I don’t recall’ 26 times, according to a count by Democracy Now, as he repeatedly declined to answer specific questions about Russian meddling efforts.
Asked by Sen. Kamala Harris whether he had any communications with Russians that he hadn’t disclosed, Sessions responded: ‘I don’t recall it. But I have to tell you, I cannot testify to what was said as we were standing at the Republican convention before the podium, where somebody came up to me.’
President Trump – who has boasted about having the ‘greatest memories of all time’ – says he doesn’t ‘remember much’ about his 2016 meeting with his foreign policy team where a potential meeting with Vladimir Putin came up.
‘I don’t remember much about that meeting,’ Trump told reporters as he headed out for a 12-day trip to Asia.
‘It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time – don’t remember much about it,’ Trump added.