This post has been updated.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions encountered the Russian ambassador twice during the 2016 campaign, and by Sessions' second interaction with Sergey Kislyak, talk of Russia's role in hacking the Democratic National Committee already was playing an outsized role in the election.
The then-senator did not reveal that he had met with the Russian official during his confirmation hearing. Sessions has dismissed concern about his failure to disclose the matter, and his spokeswoman emphasized that that at the hearing Sessions was asked specifically about discussions with Russian officials about the election.
There's no evidence Sessions and Kislyak discussed the campaign in either of their two meetings. Concerns about Russian cyberattacks on the DNC and other organizations, as well as ties between certain Trump associates and Russia, were all over the news by the time of their second meeting, however.
In the days immediately preceding that Capitol Hill sitdown, Hillary Clinton hinted there might be a link between the DNC hack and Trump’s candidacy, while Trump heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump even appeared on the Kremlin-aligned RT television network on the same day Sessions sat down with Kislyak, telling Larry King that it's "unlikely" Russia was trying to influence the U.S. election.
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