Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his previous responses before Congress on his and Trump campaign officials' interactions with Russian officials, calling it “a lie” that he has “ever lied under oath.”
“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie,” Sessions said in his prepared statement before the House Judiciary Committee early Tuesday.
Sessions has come under fire for three times telling lawmakers, under oath, that while serving as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign, he did not communicate with Russians, nor did he know of other members of the campaign who had attempted to or had done so.
In recent weeks, it was revealed that Trump adviser George Papadopolous attempted to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sessions reportedly shot down such a proposal, which contradicts later testimony he gave that he was unaware members of the Trump campaign had contacts with Russian officials.
This month, former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page told congressional investigators he told Sessions about his July 2016 trip to Russia, though it was unconnected to his role on the campaign. This testimony also contradicted Sessions’ testimony about Trump campaign connections with Russian contacts. According to Sessions on Tuesday, he remembered the interactions with Papadopoulos and Page due to “news reports.”
“I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting. After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter,” Sessions said, adding that the interaction occurred 18 months before his testimony a few weeks ago.
He added of Page: “[W]hile I do not challenge his recollection, I have no memory of his presence at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club or any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left.”
Sessions lamented that while serving as a senator and serving on the Trump campaign, he was extremely busy.
“I have been asked to remember details from a year ago, such as who I saw on what day, in what meeting, and who said what when,” Sessions said. “As I said before, my story has never changed. I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question to the best of my recollection as I will continue to do today.”