Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire after the Washington Post reported that he had two conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump campaign. Sessions failed to disclose those contacts when asked about possible connections between Trump and Russia during his confirmation hearing.
"The previously undisclosed discussions could fuel new congressional calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election," the Post writes. "As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself."
Sessions was an early and ardent supporter of Trump, appearing regularly at Trump events and boosting the candidate's campaign. He formally joined the campaign in February 2016. The contacts with the ambassador took place in July and September, at the height of the alleged Russian hack of the Clinton campaign. The second conversation with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak took place in Sessions' office.
Sessions denied that there had been any contact between the Trump campaign and Russia when questioned by Sen. Al Franken on January 10 during the judiciary committee confirmation hearing. He appears to have misspoken.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he told Franken. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Trump officials were quick to minimize the substance of the conversations.
Even this denial seems to acknowledge that their conversation was about the election.
Richard Painter, George W. Bush's ethics lawyer, emphasized the seriousness of the situation.