Intercepts suggest Sessions discussed Trump campaign matters with Russia envoy: report

Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related issues with Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions, who was then a GOP senator from Alabama, were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies that monitor Russian communications, according to the Post, which cited current and former U.S. officials.


The conversations included discussions on U.S.-Russia relations under a Trump administration and Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues, according to a former U.S. intelligence official.

Sessions initially failed to disclose that he met with Kislyak during the campaign, and then denied that the meetings were anything more than standard discussions in his capacity as a U.S. senator and were not related to the Trump campaign.

In a news conference in March, Sessions unequivocally denied having meetings with Russian agents including Kislyak about the campaign and blasted news reports that he acted as an intermediary between Trump surrogates and Russia as “false.”

“Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said.

“The idea that I was part of, quote, ‘a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government’ is totally false,” he said.

Sessions also said that month on Fox News that he didn’t “recall any discussion of the campaign [with Kislyak] in any significant way.”

One current U.S. intelligence official told the Post that Sessions’s remarks about his contacts with Kislyak were “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.”

Kislyak, officials told the Post, has a reputation for accurately describing his conversations with U.S. officials to his superiors in Moscow.

A Justice Department spokeswoman reacted to the Post’s request for comment by calling the intercepts “wholly uncorroborated.”

“Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that The Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the Post. 

Updated: 8:16 p.m.

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