Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meeting with Russian officials and other foreign contacts on a security clearance form he filled out while going through the Senate confirmation process, the Justice Department revealed on Wednesday.
Sessions was asked to share "any contact" he had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, but skipped over two meetings with Russian officials as well as any others that are not yet known.
An official familiar with the filing process told CNN that Sessions had fully filled out the form, but was told by an FBI employee who helped him, to remove any meetings he had as a senator.
On March 1, it was revealed Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on two occasions during the presidential election last year despite testifying before the Senate that he had not had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
The former Alabama senator and then-foreign policy adviser to Trump first talked with Kislyak in July following an event at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. A small group of ambassadors had approached Sessions after the event and Kislyak spoke individually with Sessions at that time. Kislyak also met Sessions in September at his office on Capitol Hill.
During his confirmation, Sessions told his former colleagues, "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."
Justice officials said that Sessions did not believe his conversations with Kislyak were relevant to the committee because they were relevant to his job as senator, not as adviser to Trump's campaign.
As a result of the findings and the ensuing controversy, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. The Justice Department later selected former FBI chief Robert Mueller to handle the probe.
Trump's former national security adviser Mike Flynn resigned in February after it was discovered that he had misled the Trump administration about his communications with Kislyak during the transition period and discussed reversing Obama-imposed sanctions on Russia.