Ses­sions changes ac­count of deal­ings with Rus­sians


Wash­ing­ton — At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions on Tues­day again re­vised his ac­count of what he knew about the Trump cam­paign’s deal­ings with Rus­sians, ac­knowl­edg­ing for the first time that he re­called a meet­ing where a for­eign pol­icy ad­viser men­tioned hav­ing con­tacts who could pos­si­bly bro­ker a meet­ing be­tween then-can­di­date Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, Ses­sions said he now re­mem­bered ad­viser Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los say­ing in March 2016 that he knew peo­ple who might be able to help ar­range a Trump-Putin meet­ing.

When Ses­sions was asked last month whether he thought sur­ro­gates from the Trump cam­paign had com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Rus­sians, he said, “I did not, and I’m not aware of any­one else that did, and I don’t be­lieve it hap­pened.”

But at Tues­day’s hear­ing, Ses­sions said his me­mory had been re­freshed.

“I do now re­call the March 2016 meet­ing at the Trump ho­tel that Mr. Pa­padopou­los at­tended, but I have no clear rec­ol­lec­tion of the de­tails of what he said at that meet­ing,” Ses­sions told law­mak­ers. “Af­ter read­ing his ac­count, and to the best of my rec­ol­lec­tion, I be­lieve that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not au­tho­rized to rep­re­sent the cam­paign with the Rus­sian govern­ment or any other for­eign govern­ment, for that mat­ter.”

Ses­sions added later: “I re­mem­ber the push­back. I re­mem­ber that he sug­gested an abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate with Rus­sians or oth­ers, and I thought he had no abil­ity, or it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for him to do so.”

The hear­ing, which lasted more than five hours, marked the first time Ses­sions has per­son­ally ad­dressed ap­par­ent dis­crep­an­cies that have emerged in re­cent weeks be­tween what he has said pub­licly and what other Trump ad­vis­ers have claimed about their Rus­sia-re­lated deal­ings.

Pa­padopou­los pleaded guilty in early Oc­to­ber to ly­ing to the FBI, ad­mit­ting he told Trump, Ses­sions and other cam­paign of­fi­cials that he had con­tacts who could help ar­range a meet­ing be­tween Trump and Putin.

Sep­a­rately, for­mer Trump cam­paign for­eign pol­icy ad­viser Carter Page tes­ti­fied be­fore the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee re­cently that he had told Ses­sions of his plans to travel to Moscow.

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