Sessions: I Discussed ‘The Ukraine’ With Russian Ambassador During Meeting

AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions described one of two meetings he had during the presidential campaign with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak as being about “just normal things,” like “the Ukraine.”

During a press conference Thursday, Sessions described one of his two meetings with Kislyak as “very brief, after a speech,” and another as having taken place in the company of two of his senior staffers, both retired Army colonels, he said, and maybe a younger staffer as well.

“Well, it was just normal things,” Sessions said of the meeting’s content, “such as I started off by saying – I don’t remember a lot of it, but I do remember saying I had gone to Russia with a church group in 1991, and he said he was not a believer himself, but he was glad to have church people come there.”

“Indeed, I thought he was pretty much of an old style Soviet-type ambassador,” Sessions said.

“And, so, we talked about – a little bit about terrorism, as I recall, and somehow the subject of the Ukraine came up. I had had the Ukrainian ambassador in my office the day before to listen to him,” Sessions said, then seemingly describing the ambassador’s position: “Russia had done nothing that was wrong in any area and everybody else was wrong with regard to the Ukraine. It got to be a little bit of a testy conversation at that point. It wrapped up. He said something about inviting me to have lunch. I did not accept that, and that never occurred.”

Sessions said he could not recall any specific political discussions.

“I don’t recall, but most of these ambassadors are pretty gossipy,” he said, responding to a reporter, “and they like – this was in the campaign season, but I don’t recall any specific political discussions.”

The Sep. 8 meetings came after Wikileaks published emails from DNC staffers, and after the New York Times reported that unnamed intelligence officials thought the Russian government was behind the hacked emails.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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