Senate Dems demand Sessions clarify testimony on Russian Federation

Kristopher Drake
November 5, 2017

But an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent's affidavit supporting criminal charges against Papadopoulos said he also claimed in an email that top Trump campaign officials, who weren't identified, approved a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sessions had previously testified that he had no knowledge of attempts by anyone on the campaign to cooperate with Russian Federation. The trip was "completely unrelated to my limited volunteer role with the campaign and as I've done dozens of times throughout my life". At least two Democratic members of the Senate judiciary committee, Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate whether Sessions committed perjury during his confirmation hearings.

After explaining that there is now more scrutiny surrounding assertions made by Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions around their knowledge of Russian contacts with the campaign, Smerconish finished by stating that all the complaints from Trump won't deter Mueller.

Asked about a 2016 meeting that included former adviser George Papadopoulos, Trump told reporters: "I don't remember much about that meeting".

Josh Chafetz, a professor at Cornell University Law School, said lawmakers could try to use "various other tools in the congressional arsenal", from reducing Justice Department appropriations to refusing to confirm appointees reporting to him.

During Sessions' confirmation hearing, Franken asked if he knew of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Sessions said he had not had meetings with Russians during the campaign.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, said it makes sense to ask Sessions to clarify the chain of events and how he reconciles it with his testimony before the committee.

KEITH: Yeah. And he's - every time you ask about Russian Federation, he says, but what about the Democrats?

A source familiar with Sessions' comments to Congress told ABC News the attorney general "has been entirely truthful and consistent on this matter". He also testified that he was "not aware" of anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicating with the Russians. He wasn't aware of any ongoing exchanges of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, the person said. Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation and Moscow denies interfering in the 2016 USA election.

The source said Sessions was not aware that Papadopoulos had been offered "dirt" on Clinton or emails. He answered some questions from reporters.

"Let's remember that this is about Russian interference in our election and that is at the very heart of our system of democracy and we're trying to find out whether the Trump campaign cooperated", Franken said.

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