Congressional investigators are looking into whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an undisclosed private meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign, CNN reports. Sources include Republicans and Democrats on the Hill, as well as intelligence officials. They haven’t concluded such a conversation happened, however.
Investigators want more information on whether the two had a side meeting on April 27, 2016 at Washington D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel. Donald Trump, then a candidate, was making his first big speech on foreign policy. Kislyak, and Sessions, then a senator for Alabama, were at a VIP reception with diplomats and others.
The FBI, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, is also looking into the possibility of such a meeting. They also haven’t concluded this conversation happened.
A Department of Justice spokeswoman denied the report.
“The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Sarah Isgur Flores told LawNewz.com. “We will allow him to do his job. It is unfortunate that anonymous sources whose credibility will never face public scrutiny are continuously trying to hinder that process by peddling false stories to the mainstream media. The facts haven’t changed; the then-Senator did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel.”
During his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Sessions did not disclose two meetings he had with Kislyak as a Trump surrogate during the campaign. After that, he recused himself from involvement the probe into Russia, though he denied wrongdoing.
The FBI and several congressional committees are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. In December, U.S. intelligence officials said Moscow’s efforts were designed to help Trump win. Nonetheless, despite the ongoing probes, and constant media scrutiny, there remains no public, substantiated proof to Trump campaign collusion.
[Screengrab via C-SPAN]