Democrats to ques­tion at­tor­ney gen­eral on Rus­sia con­tacts

FACE TO FACE: Jeff Ses­sions, a for­mer US sen­a­tor, has de­nied mis­lead­ing Congress

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON: US At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions was set to face a bar­rage of ques­tions from Democrats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Tues­day over whether he lied about com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign and Rus­sian rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Democrats on the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee say they will grill Ses­sions about state­ments he made to the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, in which he de­nied know­ing about meet­ings be­tween cam­paign aides and Rus­sians.

Ses­sions’ state­ments, made at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing in Jan­uary and at a Se­nate Ju­di­ciary hear­ing in Oc­to­ber, ap­pear to have been con­tra­dicted when charges against for­mer Trump cam­paign ad­viser Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los were un­sealed in a probe into al­le­ga­tions of links be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign.

“We in­tend to ask you about these in­con­sis­ten­cies,” the com­mit­tee’s Demo­cratic mem­bers said in a Novem­ber 7 let­ter to Ses­sions. “We are pro­vid­ing you no­tice in ad­vance be­cause we ex­pect you to re­spond,” the Democrats said.

Ses­sions, a for­mer US sen­a­tor who was in­volved in Trump’s cam­paign, has de­nied mis­lead­ing Congress, say­ing his prior state­ments un­der oath were all true.

US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have con­cluded that Moscow med­dled in the 2016 US elec­tion to help then-Repub­li­can can­di­date Trump’s cam­paign.

The Krem­lin has de­nied in­ter­fer­ing in the elec­tion and Trump de­nies any col­lu­sion be­tween his cam­paign and Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

Ses­sions is likely to be pressed about Pa­padopou­los, a for­mer Trump cam­paign for­eign pol­icy ad­viser.

In court records, prose­cu­tors say Pa­padopou­los told a March 2016 meet­ing of cam­paign of­fi­cials that he had Rus­sian con­nec­tions and could help ar­range a meet­ing with Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

A pho­to­graph posted on Trump’s In­sta­gram ac­count shows that Pa­padopou­los, Ses­sions and Trump were all seated at the same ta­ble in that meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter, Ses­sions shut down Pa­padopou­los’ idea of en­gag­ing with Rus­sia, and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has played down Pa­padopou­los’ role in the cam­paign, say­ing he was noth­ing more than a low level vol­un­teer.

But the court doc­u­ments, and Pa­padopou­los’ guilty plea for ly­ing to the FBI over his con­tacts with Rus­sian of­fi­cials, put new fo­cus on Ses­sions’ ear­lier tes­ti­mony. Ses­sions said dur­ing Jan­uary’s con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing that he was un­aware of com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween the cam­paign and Rus­sia.

Af­ter the hear­ing, news re­ports emerged show­ing that Ses­sions had him­self met Rus­sian Am­bas­sador Sergei Kislyak at least twice in 2016.

Un­der pres­sure, Ses­sions re­cused him­self from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In an­other Se­nate hear­ing last month, Ses­sions tes­ti­fied he had no im­proper in­volve­ment with Rus­sians and was not aware of any­one else from the cam­paign who did.

“At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions has mis­rep­re­sented the truth ... time and time again,” Al Franken, a Demo­cratic Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee mem­ber, said on the Se­nate floor on Mon­day.


US At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions ar­rives to tes­tify be­fore a House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton on over­sight of the US Jus­tice Depart­ment.

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