Administration

Sessions on Russia testimony: 'My answer was correct'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday defended his decision not to mention his talks with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. while under oathj during his confirmation hearing, a decision that eventually led to his recusal from his department's probe into Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. 

 

"My answer was correct," Sessions wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he used to further explain his testimony. 

 

The former Alabama senator said he was answering a specific question posed by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) during his January confirmation hearing about ongoing talks between Trump associates and Russian government representatives during the campaign. 

 

"I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them," Sessions wrote.  

 

The attorney general did not directly address his answer to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who asked in a written questionnaire whether he had "been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?"

 

"No," Sessions had responded. 

 

In his letter, the former Trump campaign surrogate only said he does "not recall any discussions with the Russian ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, about the campaign." 

 

Sessions's confirmation hearing answers about his previously undisclosed talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which were revealed by The Washington Post last week, set off a major firestorm in Washington. 

 

It led to Sessions' recusal from any election-related investigations, a decision he said he began to discuss with senior Justice Department officials in late February.

 

But the decision reportedly angered President Trump, who felt that Sessions did not need to remove himself from the probe.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he was satisfied with Sessions' answers and would not call him back to testify about his confirmation hearing. 

 

"I appreciate Attorney General Sessions' quick action to clear up confusion about his statement and I look forward to confirming the team who can help him carry out the functions of the department," he said in a statement. 

 

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