Democrats to question Sessions on Russia contacts
WASHINGTON: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will 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 conirmation 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 Nov. 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 oficials.
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 oficials 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 oficials, put new focus on Sessions’ earlier testimony.