WASHINGTON ― Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that he had “no recollection” of a former Trump campaign adviser’s comments on Russia during a March 2016 Trump campaign meeting on national security ― until, that is, it emerged that George Papadopoulos had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents working with the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Sessions now says that, to the best of his recollection, he tried to make clear at the time that Papadopoulos could not represent the campaign to the Russian government.
Sessions testified Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. It’s the first time he’s appeared before a congressional hearing since special counsel Robert Mueller rolled out his first charges two weeks ago.
Democrats believe Sessions misled Congress with regard to what he knew about representatives of the Trump campaign being in contact with Russians. In March 2016, Sessions was photographed sitting near Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who was later flipped by Mueller’s team. Papadopoulos has admitted to lying to FBI agents about being offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton by a professor with ties to the Russians.
Sessions had previously said he was “not aware” of anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign coordinating with Russia. On Tuesday, he said he had “no recollection” of the Russia talk until he saw news reports.