A Washington Post report released on Wednesday night stated that current Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in 2016, despite Sessions’ earlier claims that no one in the Trump administration had communicated with the Russian government, to his knowledge. The news comes as calls from the Hill for an independent investigation into the matter grow. According to the report, one of the meetings took place while Sessions was still a senator, as a member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The report, which cited unnamed Justice Department officials, stated that “one of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.” The other meeting reportedly took place “in a group setting with other ambassadors” following an event held by the conservative Heritage Foundation in July, the AP noted. The event was run “on the sidelines” of the Republican National Convention and was attended by some 50 ambassadors.
According to the report, “a small group of ambassadors approached Sessions as he was leaving the podium, and Kislyak was among them.” Sessions reportedly spoke with Kislyak individually, Justice Department officials told The Post.
In a statement to Romper, a Justice Department spokesperson reiterated Sessions’ comments from Thursday morning, quoting him as saying, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.” The spokesperson also quoted Isgur Flores’ earlier statement to The Post, saying, “Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German and Russian ambassadors. He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign–not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”
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Image: Gage Skidmore