Dem Rep: Trump team has ‘pattern of forgetting’ about contacts with Russia

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesMany Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum SEC's Clayton demurs on firing of Manhattan US attorney he would replace Democrats face tough questions with Bolton MORE (D-Conn.) said on Friday that top Trump administration officials appear to have a "pattern of forgetting or very simply lying" about contacts and communications with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"One of the reasons this investigation continues to be important is because of this pattern of forgetting or very simply lying about contacts with Russia from people in the administration," Himes said on CNN's "New Day."

Himes said the current investigations into Russia's role in the election do not appear to be reaching a "boiling point," but accused some Republican members of Congress of trying to divert attention to controversies surrounding former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Democratic super PAC to hit Trump in battleground states over coronavirus deaths Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE.

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But that notion, he said, "went out in dramatic fashion on Monday," after George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Russians. 

According to court documents unsealed Monday, Papadopoulos touted his Russian connections in front of other campaign officials, including President Trump himself.

That account appeared to contradict claims by Trump and other current administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez call for convention to decide Puerto Rico status MORE, that they were unaware of ties between campaign aides and Russia.

Sessions told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee in January that he was "not aware of any of those activities," although it was revealed a month later that he had met with now-former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

The attorney general told the panel again last month that he did not know of any campaign surrogates that communicated with Russians.

Some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are now calling for Sessions to go before the panel for questioning once again to explain apparent discrepancies in his previous testimonies.