Sessions Met With Russian Ambassador Twice During Campaign

Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

This post has been updated.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States twice before the election while he was a senator and also a surrogate for President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Washington Post first broke the news and a spokeswoman for Sessions, Sarah Isgur Flores, acknowledged that Sessions did meet with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The attorney general did not disclose his contact with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing in January.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions said in January when asked what he would do if he discovered that Trump aides were in contact with Russian officials during the campaign. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

Sessions also denied a written question asking if he had discussed the 2016 election with any Russian officials during the campaign, the Washington Post noted.

Flores told the Washington Post that Sessions’ answer was not “misleading.”

“He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” Flores said.

Sessions also issued a statement, noting that he did not discuss the Trump campaign in his meetings.

“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” he said in a statement. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

On Thursday morning, NBC News asked Sessions if he would consider recusing himself from an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I have said whenever it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself. There’s no doubt about that,” Sessions replied.

The White House dismissed the reports on Sessions’ contacts with the Russian ambassador as a “partisan” attack pushed by Democrats.

“This is the latest attack against the Trump Administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony. It’s no surprise Senator Al Franken is pushing this story immediately following President Trump’s successful address to the nation,” a White House official said in a statement to TPM.

Sessions met with Kislyak twice during the campaign, once at a Heritage Foundation event during the Republican National Convention in July and a second time in September, according to the Washington Post. Justice Department officials told the Post that Sessions held the September meeting in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The revelation about Sessions’ contact with the Russian ambassador comes as allegations that Trump associates were in contact with Russian officials during the campaign are under increasing scrutiny. Some Democrats have called for an independent investigation, but Republicans have insisted that probes carried out by the intelligence committees are sufficient.

As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which is currently investigating potential contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign. Several lawmakers have called for a special prosecutor, and even Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that Sessions should recuse himself “if there is an allegation of a crime.”

Following the Washington Post’s report Wednesday night, Democrats began to call for Sessions to resign from his role as attorney general. Democrats also reiterated their calls for an independent investigation into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Watch the moment from Sessions’ confirmation hearing below:

Latest DC

Notable Replies

  1. Well, I mean, sure, like, I saw them, but I didn’t meet them.

  2. I met him in my capacity as a private citizen and homeowner. We discussed neighborhood issues, like people not picking up after their dogs.

    The Kremlin on the Potomac.

  3. Well what do you know? Jeffie-boy told a little fib. Bless his heart.

    Best start to my day in weeks!

  4. Bye bye Sessions…we can no longer trust you.

  5. Not only did Sessions meet with the Russians, he also lied about it in his confirmation hearing.

Continue the discussion at

257 more replies


Avatar for ajm Avatar for pluckyinky Avatar for bull_vinkel Avatar for srfromgr Avatar for robinoso1 Avatar for clemmers Avatar for bluestatedon Avatar for dave_adams Avatar for turdburgler Avatar for randyabraham Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for daveyjones64 Avatar for go2goal Avatar for uk_observer Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for thunderclapnewman Avatar for georgeh Avatar for tiowally Avatar for circusmax Avatar for kumquat16 Avatar for bobef Avatar for clare Avatar for drwho Avatar for the_loan_arranger

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: