Jeff Sessions may have lied to Congress about members of the Trump campaign speaking with Russian officials, according to unsealed court charges.
The attorney general told congressional committees earlier this year he was unaware of any of Trump campaign official having contact with Russia — despite persistent questioning.
Court documents, unsealed this week as part of charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, suggest at least two campaign officials informed Sessions of contacts with Moscow during the race.
In a meeting attended by Sessions, former campaign official George Papadopoulos told Trump he could facilitate a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was revealed Thursday.
Though Trump reportedly said he would consider the idea, Sessions dismissed it outright, adding “no one should talk about it,” according to J.D. Gordon, an adviser also in the meeting.
NBC reported Thursday Sessions now recalls rejecting the trip.
The revelation dramatically undercuts the president’s February claim that “nobody that I know of” on his campaign team had contacts with Russia.
Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser on the Trump team, told a closed-door session of the House intelligence committees Thursday he informed Sessions during the campaign he was traveling to Russia — though he said the trip was not related to the election.
Congress is seeking clarification from Sessions, with Democrats eager for an explanation.
In a scathing letter to the AG, Democratic Sen. Al Franken said he was “deeply troubled” by the revelations, which “strongly suggests that the Senate — and the American public — cannot trust your word.”
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, questioned why Sessions “cannot seem to provide truthful, complete answers to these important and relevant questions,” while Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who serves on the intelligence and judiciary panels, said: “I certainly think it’s a legitimate area of inquiry.”
Along with Sessions, Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner continues to be a focus of Mueller’s investigation. CNN revealed Thursday Kushner had submitted documents to the investigation relating to Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.