Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday said he did not recall Attorney General Jeff Sessions taking any interest in Russia as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, though Sessions claimed he met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in that capacity.
Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he pressed Kislyak on Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“I remember pushing back on it and it was testy on that subject,” Sessions said.
“Knowing you on the committee, I can’t imagine that,” McCain replied.
He asked Sessions whether he talked to Kislyak about Russian interference in elections held by U.S. allies.
“I don’t recall that being discussed,” Sessions said.
“If you spoke with Ambassador Kislyak in your capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee, you presumably talked with him about Russia-related security issues that you have demonstrated as important to you as a member of the committee,” McCain said.
“Did I discuss security issues?” Sessions repeated in apparent confusion.
“I don’t recall you as being particularly vocal on such issues,” McCain said. “In your capacity as the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, what Russia-related security issues did you hold hearings on or otherwise demonstrate a keen interest in?”
“We may have discussed that,” Sessions said, apparently responding to McCain’s earlier question. “I just don’t have a real recall of the meeting. I was not making a report about it to anyone. I just was basically willing to meet and see what he discussed.”
“And his response was?” McCain pressed.
“I don’t recall,” Sessions said.