Jeff Sessions on Tuesday acknowledged a former aide to Donald’s Trump presidential campaign informed him during the 2016 election about ties to Russian officials, appearing to contradict his own testimony to members of Congress during his confirmation hearing to become attorney general earlier this year.
Testifying before the House judiciary committee, Sessions said he only recently recalled a meeting during the 2016 presidential election in which George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, disclosed his contacts with Russians.
The attorney general also said he did not remember talking to Carter Page, an former foreign policy adviser to Trump who has said he told Sessions about a planned trip to Moscow.
It was revealed earlier this month that Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the nature of his contacts with the Russians and had been cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Sessions was pressed on Tuesday about court documents that revealed he led a meeting in March 2016 in which Papadopoulos spoke of his ties to Russia and offered to facilitate an encounter between Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
“I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions said, adding he still lacked a “clear recollection” of what exactly Papadopoulos said during the meeting.
Sessions, who during his Senate confirmation hearing in January testified under oath that he was not aware of any contacts between Trump’s campaign and the Russians, vehemently denied intentionally misleading members of Congress.
“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,” Sessions said.
“But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie.”