Sessions angrily denies lying to Congress about Russia
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly denied Tuesday that he deliberately misled or lied to Congress about the Trump campaign’s multiple contacts with Russia, saying he forgot that two aides told him about their meetings with Russian government officials during the 2016 race.
In an often-contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing, Sessions sparred for more than five hours with both Democrats, who faulted him for changing his story each time he has testified under oath before Congress, and some Republicans, who pushed him to appoint a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
Sessions grew visibly angry at times, insisting again and again that he “always told the truth” as he recalled it, even as he confirmed for the first time that an aide offered to help arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin last March. Sessions said he “pushed back” against the offer.
“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,” he said.
“But I will not accept, and reject accusations, that I have ever lied,” he added. “That is a lie.”
Sessions held firm against Republicans who pressed him to swiftly appoint another special counsel to focus on Clinton.
Senior prosecutors at the Justice Department were reviewing the record and it would “be done without political influence,” he said.
After Rep. Jim Jordan, R-ohio, laid out a long list of allegations that he said indicated wrongdoing, Sessions responded sharply. “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel,” he said.