Ses­sions an­grily de­nies ly­ing to Congress about Rus­sia

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - MORNING BRIEFING - By Joseph Tan­fani and Cath­leen Decker Los An­ge­les Times

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.

Jeff Ses­sions

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