Sessions: Meetings with Russian ambassador not 'improper or unwise'

Sessions: Meetings with Russian ambassador not 'improper or unwise'
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCalifornia secession movement cleared to begin collecting signatures Sessions declines to recuse himself from Cohen probe: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE on Thursday rebuffed accusations that he acted improperly in meeting with Russia’s ambassador during Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE’s presidential campaign, forcefully denying ever discussing the election with the diplomat.

“I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way,” he told Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.

“It was in no way some sort of coordinating of an effort or doing anything improper, and I don’t believe anybody that was in that meeting would have seen or believed I said one thing that was improper or unwise.”

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Sessions, who sat on the Armed Services Committee while in the Senate, said he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his office at the envoy’s request, and the two discussed a number of issues, including Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

“We had a disagreement over that,” he said. “The Ukrainian ambassador had been into my office for a meeting the day before, and so we had a little disagreement over the Ukrainian issue.”

They previously met at an event during the Republican National Convention, alongside other diplomats.

Sessions became the subject of controversy Wednesday night amid revelations that he had failed to disclose the two meetings with Kislyak in his Jan. 10 confirmation hearing to become attorney general.

At the time, Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken to make first public appearance since resignation Overnight Cybersecurity: Fallout from Comey memos | IG reportedly investigating memos over classified info | DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign | GOP chair blasts FDIC over data security Why Smokin' Joe leads the pack of 2020 Democratic hopefuls MORE (D-Minn.) asked Sessions how he would approach a potential case in which Trump’s campaign aides were found to have communicated with Russian officials.

"I'm not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions 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."

Sessions recused himself on Thursday from any investigations into Russian election meddling or potential ties between Trump and Moscow. But he insisted that the decision had nothing to do with improper talks with Kislyak.

“When you evaluate the rules, I feel like I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in,” he said at a news conference.

Speaking to Carlson Thursday night, Sessions said he was “attacked” by accusations of colluding with Russia, calling the outcry surrounding the reports of the meetings “sad.”

“It was a sad thing to be attacked like that, but I think we explained it and we intend to move forward,” he said.