Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday he never lied under oath about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election and didn’t recall conversations with Trump campaign aides about their Russia-linked contacts until he saw news reports about them.
At his first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Sessions said he has “no clear recollection” of what was said at a session at which a Trump campaign associate, George Papadopoulos, proposed organizing a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, Sessions said that despite his lack of clarity on what transpired at the March 2016 meeting, he believes he rejected the suggested meeting with Putin.
“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 told the committee. “But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it.”
A short time later, Sessions was blunter: “At the meeting, I pushed back.”
Sessions has come under scrutiny about his repeated denials or seemingly shifting answers to questions about what he knew about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, as special counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees probe Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.