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Sessions denies third meeting with Russia envoy

June 13, 2017 4:37 pm

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has denied during a Congress hearing having undisclosed meetings with Russian officials at a Washington DC hotel.

America’s top law official also told the Senate Intelligence Committee any suggestion he colluded with the Kremlin was “an appalling and detestable lie”.

His remarks come days after sacked FBI boss James Comey said he believed he was fired to change the Russia probe.

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Mr Sessions had recused himself from any probe in Russia’s alleged meddling.

The Senate committee is of one several congressional panels that, along with a special counsel, is also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot.

“I recused myself from any investigation into the campaigns for President, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honour against scurrilous and false allegations,” Mr Sessions said in an opening statement on Tuesday.

Mr Sessions acknowledged he met Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak twice, but suggested he could not remember whether he met the envoy at a foreign policy speech event for then-candidate Donald Trump at the Mayflower Hotel on 27 April 2016, as US media have reported.

“I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian Ambassador or any other Russian officials. If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian Ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” he told senators.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, a Republican, acknowledged Mr Sessions’ previous tenure as an Alabama senator before urging his colleagues to focus their questions on the Russia investigation.

Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat, emphasised that he was “concerned” the president did not realise the severity of the alleged threat from Russian interference in US elections.

“Such interferences can never be tolerated,” Mr Sessions told the panel.

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