Jeff Sessions took particular aim at news reports about a possible meeting he had with a Russian official during an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, where then-candidate Donald Trump gave a pro-Russia speech. He acknowledged being at the event and said he had conversations with people who were there but did not remember any conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said.
Sessions acknowledged that he had met twice with Kislyak — once during the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office — and that he did not disclose that during his confirmation hearing.
He explained that, essentially, he was flustered by a question from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about an alleged “continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government,” and that is why he claimed wrongly that he had not met with Russians.
“I wanted to refute that, immediately,” Sessions said.