Sessions denies lying on Russia, pleads hazy memoryNovember 15, 2017 8:03am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A defiant Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress on Tuesday he never lied under oath about Russian interference in the 2016 election and said sleep deprivation and the "chaos" of the Trump campaign clouded his recollections of campaign contacts with Russians.

Sessions sought to explain away apparent contradictions in his public statements by portraying President Donald Trump's campaign as an exhausting operation and said he could not be expected to remember specific encounters from more than a year ago.

"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," Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee. "But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."

Sessions, then a senator from Alabama, led a foreign policy advisory council for the Trump campaign. He has been dogged since January by his evolving explanations about his own foreign contacts during the campaign and about how much he knew of communication between Trump associates and Russian government intermediaries.

Those questions have only deepened since the guilty plea last month of George Papadopoulos, a former Trump adviser who served on the council Sessions chaired and who proposed arranging a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. As well, another aide, Carter Page, told Congress in private statements that he had alerted Sessions about a meeting he planned in Russia during the campaign.

Sessions said he had no recollection of the conversation with Page. And he said that though he did not initially recall a March 2016 conversation with Papadopoulos, he now believes after seeing media reports about it that he told Papadopoulos that he was not authorized to represent the Trump campaign with the Russian government or any other foreign government.

Papadopoulos was arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty to lying to authorities about his own foreign contacts during the campaign.

"I pushed back, I'll just say it that way," Sessions said under questioning, later adding that he was concerned that "he not go off somewhere pretending to represent the Trump campaign."

Sessions insisted that his story had never changed and that he had never been dishonest. But he also suggested to the committee that it was unfair to expect him to recall "who said what when" during the campaign.

"It was a brilliant campaign in many ways," he said. "But it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled all the time, sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply. And I was still a full-time senator keeping a very full schedule during this time."

The oversight hearing came one day after the Justice Department said Sessions had directed federal prosecutors to look into whether a special counsel might be merited to investigate allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from an Obama-era uranium transaction involving a Russia-backed company.

On Tuesday, Sessions said that any such review would be done without regard to political considerations.

___

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Congressional Russia probes likely to head into 2018Some Republicans would like to wrap up investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election; no quick end in sight
FILE - In this July 25, 2016, file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Franken has spent much of his nine years as senator trying to shed his funnyman image and digging into issues. That rising trajectory has been interrupted by allegations that he forcibly kissed one woman and squeezed another’s buttocks without their permission. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Franken's rising political star obscured by accusations
In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the the Sungri Motor Complex in Pyeongannam-do, North Korea. The Trump administration is due to announce new sanctions on North Korea on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, after declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism in the latest push to isolate the pariah nation. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
New US sanctions target North Korean, Chinese companies
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talks to reporters during the daily media briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, in Washington. The United States declared the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to be "ethnic cleansing" on Wednesday, Nov. 22, putting more pressure on the country's military to halt a brutal crackdown that has sent more than 600,000 refugees flooding over the border to Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
US declares 'ethnic cleansing' against Rohingya in Myanmar
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, protesters hold signs as they yell at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco. A federal judge Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 has permanently blocked President Donald Trump's executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities. San Francisco and Santa Clara County had filed lawsuits. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Judge's ruling doesn't end legal fight over sanctuary cities
AP FACT CHECK: Man dissed by Trump has put felons in prisonAP FACT CHECK: The Alabama Democrat who was disparaged by President Donald Trump as "soft on crime" is a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted church bombers and domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices