The FBI has put to bed a controversy whipped up by liberal critics of Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his contacts with foreign officials including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential campaign.
An FBI email released through the Freedom of Information Act said that Sessions had no obligation to reveal any contacts with foreign officials unless he “developed personal relationships” with them.
The bottom line: His two contacts with Kislyak in 2016 did not have to be revealed to the FBI on his SF-86 security clearance application, part of his confirmation process.
Sessions has repeatedly denied that he talked about the campaign with the Russian, but critics have continued to question his decision to not list them on his SF-86, which contains a box to check for contacts.
The email confirms statements from Justice staffers that Sessions did not need to check the foreign contacts box.
It does not list any name, but the “From” line reads “FBI.” It is dated March 7, 2017.
The email references a question asked by Sessions aide Peggi Hanrahan about previously asking if the attorney general needed to list is foreign contacts on the SF-86.
While the FBI official didn’t recall any prior discussions, the email said Sessions did the right thing.
“For the purposes of the SF-86, he was not required to list foreign government contacts while on official government business unless he developed personal relationships from such contacts,” said the FBI official in the email.
Sessions has never said the talks were more than in his capacity as a senator from Alabama and that he was not pals with the Russian ambassador.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org