Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Sessions recalls campaign talk on Russian Federation


At today's congressional hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., renewed his request for the appointment of second special counsel - this one to investigate the operations of the Clinton Foundation and a sale of a uranium company to Russian Federation, among other issues.

Sessions said he did "not challenge" Page's recollection, but said he had "no memory" of his presence at a dinner or "any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left".

"I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie".

"I do now recall" the meeting where adviser George Papadopoulos made the proposal, Sessions said, "but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during the meeting".

"All of you have been in a campaign", Sessions told lawmakers.

Sessions says he now recalls having told Papadopoulos that he was not authorized to represent the Trump campaign before the Russian government.

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The report said members of the committee, including Clinton, should have known about the investigation and it questioned why they would have approved it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have just thrown a wrench into GOP plans to open a new federal investigation of Hillary Clinton.

After that meeting, Sessions said, he did not have "any further knowledge" of additional contacts between the campaign and Russian officials.

Mrs. Clinton's campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, has said suggestions they did were "baseless".

It was the former senator's first time before the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the committee had signaled in advance they meant to press the administration's top legal official on a host of issues, not the least of which is the ongoing Russian Federation investigation. Sessions, who was a Republican senator for Alabama before he was appointed attorney general, is also set to testify before Goodlatte's committee Tuesday and was likely to face questions on the topics raised in the letter.

Nonetheless, the action follows a series of critical public statements by Trump that observers said blurred the bright line between the White House and the Justice Department. The move, detailed in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, comes after Trump has criticized his Justice Department for not doing more investigation of his former political rival.

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"I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did, and I don't believe it happened", Sessions said under questioning, again from Franken. He was part of the foreign policy council that Sessions chaired, and the two are among the men in a March 2016 photograph that Trump posted on social media.

"A President can not improperly influence an investigation", Sessions said. "Each of those are pretty special, factual situations", Sessions said, "and we will use the proper standards". After his confirmation hearing, it came to light that Sessions had met with Russian officials during the campaign, prompting his recusal from the investigation and leading to the special counsel's appointment.

During the March 2016 meeting, Sessions shut down Papadopoulos' idea of engaging with Russian contacts, according to a source familiar with the matter.

"People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, must do what is right and proper".

Adding to the questions for Sessions was the release by the House Intelligence Committee last week of a transcript of a private interview with Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the campaign who acknowledged that he had contact with a high-level Russian official while on a trip to Russia past year.

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