Sessions Sends Supplemental Letter To Judiciary Committee On Russian Contact

Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, before his Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday to “supplement” testimony given during his confirmation hearings in January, in which he said “I did not have communications with the Russians.”

In fact, Sessions met twice with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the 2016 presidential campaign, despite denying any contact to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) during his confirmation hearings.

Sessions said in a press conference last Thursday that he had “focused my answer on” a breaking news story mentioned by Franken that members of Trump’s campaign had had repeated contact with Russian nationals, including intelligence officials, during the campaign

“My reply to the question of Sen. Franken was honest and correct as I understood it at the time,” Sessions said Thursday, before adding: “I will write the Judiciary Committee soon – today or tomorrow – to explain this testimony for the record.”

Four days later, the letter arrived.

“I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian Ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them,” Sessions wrote in it, referring to his response to Franken’s question.

“I do not recall any discussions with the Russian Ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, regarding the political campaign on these occasions or any other occasions,” he added later.

Sessions also responded in the letter to Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who demanded to know why, when he recused himself from
“matters that deal with the Trump campaign” during the Thursday press conference, Sessions didn’t also recuse himself from matters related to “Russian contacts with the Trump transition team and administration.”

“I understood the scope of the recusal as described in the Department’s press release would include any such matters,” Sessions wrote in response.

The Justice Department’s press release Thursday stated that Sessions would recuse himself from “matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”

Read Sessions letter in full below, via NBC News:

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