Sessions Recuses Himself from Any Trump Campaign Probes

Attorney general strongly denies misleading Senate on meetings with Russian diplomat

by Jim Stinson | Updated 02 Mar 2017 at 6:21 PM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions denied he misled the Senate in his confirmation hearings, but recused himself from any future investigations of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“Let me be clear, I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign, and the idea that I was part of a ‘continuing exchange for information’ is totally false,” said Sessions.

“My answer to Sen. Franken was honest and correct.”

Sessions had come under fire for meeting twice with the Russian ambassador in 2016. He had told the Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings, in early January, that he was not aware of a “continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates  and intermediaries for the Russian government,” as reported by CNN.

The question was posed by U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), during Senate confirmation hearings for the attorney general.

Sessions said he was “not aware of any those activities.” He also indicated he had not seen the CNN report.

Sessions was clearly responding to the question about “continuing exchange.” But that part of the query, from U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), was left out in the frequently replayed footage that began re-airing on Wednesday night, after a Washington Post story unearthed the fact Sessions met twice with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Sessions said when Franken went down a certain path — about the Trump campaign’s alleged regular communication with Russian government officials — he answered as best he could.

“My answer to Sen. Franken was honest and correct,” said Sessions.

Sessions noted he met with the Russian ambassador on Sept. 8. Two senior Sessions staffers were there, Sessions said. The issue of the Ukraine came up, Sessions said, which led to a testy exchange.

But Sessions said he would recuse himself from any investigation of the Trump campaign, for which he was a surrogate. But in saying he would do so, Sessions noted he was not confirming such an investigation exists.

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