Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted his critics during heated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In his opening statement, Sessions asserted that any accusation that he colluded with Russian officials to subvert the 2016 election was a malicious lie.
On June 13, Sessions testified before the SIC as part of its probe into the Russian government's role in the 2016 election. In his opening remarks, the attorney general addressed media reports that claimed he'd had several undisclosed contacts with Russian officials while working as a campaign surrogate for President Donald Trump.
"At all times throughout the course of the campaign, the confirmation process, and since becoming Attorney General, I have dedicated myself to the highest standards," Sessions said, according to ABC News.
On Jan. 10, Sessions asserted during his confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russian officials during the presidential race.
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When Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota asked Sessions if he was aware of any contacts between Trump campaign members and Russian officials, Sessions responded "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."
On March 1, it was disclosed by members of the Department of Justice that Sessions had met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign, The Washington Post reports.
On March 2, Sessions recused himself from the DOJ probe into Russia's role during the election.
On June 8, former FBI Director James Comey reportedly told the SIC during a closed meeting that Sessions may have had a third undisclosed meeting with Kislyak in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., according to CNN.
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Sessions stated in his latest testimony that he had met with Kislyak in June and October 2016, but had misunderstood Franken's question during the confirmation hearing.
The attorney general denied meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel and asserted that he never discussed interference during the 2016 election with Russian officials.
"Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign," Sessions continued. "The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie."
The attorney general added that he recued himself from the DOJ probe into Russia not because of his contacts with Kislyak, but because the department prohibits officials from investigating campaigns that they had previously advised.