Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before...
Alex Brandon

AG Sessions’ testimony on Russia outreach faces new questions

It wasn’t long after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in when he faced a scandal over possible perjury. In fact, we learned a year ago this month that during the 2016 campaign, the Alabama Republican had meetings with Russian officials – for reasons that have never been altogether clear – which he failed to disclose during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Indeed, he was asked specifically about possible evidence tying members of Trump’s campaign team to the Russian government during Russia’s election attack. “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions said, adding “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

Sessions did, however, have communications with the Russians.

That was the first time the attorney general faced questions about false testimony. Reuters reported yesterday on the second.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.

Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting. Then a senator from Alabama, Sessions chaired the meeting as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.

Sessions, who has already been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, clearly said in his sworn congressional testimony that he pushed back against suggested meetings between campaign officials and Russians.

There now appears to be reason to question Sessions’ version of events. According to Reuters’ report, three people who were on hand for the March 2016 campaign meeting disputed his claims.

And while the article didn’t identify each of the three sources, it’s worth noting for context that George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last fall to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia, and he’s now a cooperating witness in the special counsel’s investigation.

It’s impossible to say with any confidence whether Mueller and his team intend to pursue this as an area of legal concern, but it certainly appears to be a problem when an attorney general is accused of giving false sworn testimony – more than once.

What’s more, let’s not forget that Sessions just fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Friday night for his lack of “candor.”

Jeff Sessions and Russia

AG Sessions' testimony on Russia outreach faces new questions