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VIDEO: Attorney general denies lying on Russia, pleads hazy memory

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Photographs by AP Photo/Darron Cummings

In this Nov. 6, 2017, file photo, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to members of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition in Indianapolis.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday displayed a hazy memory of the Trump campaign's discussions about and dealings with Russians in the 2016 election, denying he ever lied to Congress about those contacts but blaming the chaos of the race for fogging his recollections.

During more than five hours of testimony to Congress, Sessions sought to explain away apparent contradictions in his earlier accounts by citing the exhausting nature of Donald Trump's upstart but surging bid for the White House. He also denied under repeated questioning from Democrats that he had been influenced by Trump.

But after saying under oath months ago that he was unaware of any relationship between the campaign and Russia, Sessions acknowledged for the first time that the arrest of a low-level campaign adviser reminded him after all of a meeting at which the aide, George Papadopoulos, proposed setting up a get-together between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"After reading his account and to the best of my recollection," Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee, "I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government or any other foreign government for that matter.

"But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago," he added, "and I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper."

Papadopoulos was arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty last month to lying to authorities about his own foreign contacts during the campaign. That guilty plea came in a wide-ranging criminal investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who as the Justice Department's special counsel is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and into whether the firing of James Comey as FBI director was an effort to obstruct justice.

During the Trump campaign, Sessions, then an Alabama senator, led a campaign foreign policy advisory council on which Papadopolous served. The attorney general has struggled since January to move past questions about his own foreign contacts and about his knowledge of Russian outreach efforts during the election effort.

Each congressional hearing, including Tuesday's, has focused on Sessions' own recollections, and he recused himself in March from the Justice Department's investigation into election meddling after acknowledging two previously undisclosed encounters during the campaign with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Questions for Sessions have only deepened since the guilty plea last month of Papadopoulos and recent statements to congressional investigators by another foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, who has said he alerted Sessions last year about a trip he planned to take to Russia during the campaign. Sessions insisted Tuesday that he did not recall that conversation with Page at all and appeared incredulous at times that he could be expected to remember the details of conversations from more than a year ago.

"In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory," Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee. "But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie."

Sessions insisted that his story had never changed and that he had never been dishonest. But he also suggested to the committee that it was unfair to expect him to recall "who said what when" during the campaign.

"It was a brilliant campaign, I think, in many ways, but it was a form of chaos every day from day one," Sessions said. "We traveled some times to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply, and I was still a full-time senator ... with a very full schedule."

The oversight hearing divided along partisan lines.

Republicans, buoyed by the announcement a day earlier that the Justice Department might be open to a new special counsel to investigate an Obama-era business transaction that Trump himself has railed against, repeatedly challenged the underpinnings of Mueller's investigation. Democrats grilled him on the evolving explanations about how much he knew of communication during the campaign between Trump associates and Russian government intermediaries.

A day earlier, the Justice Department said Sessions had directed federal prosecutors to look into whether a special counsel might be merited to investigate allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from a uranium transaction involving a Russia-backed company during the Obama administration.

On Tuesday, Sessions said that any such review would be done without regard to political considerations.

"A president cannot improperly influence an investigation," Sessions said in response to questions from the committee's top Democrat, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.

"And I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced," he added. "The president speaks his mind. He's bold and direct about what he says, but people elected him. But we do our duty every day based on the law and the facts."

[VIDEO: 'My story has never changed,' Sessions says]

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Comments

PopulistMom says...

Now, he "remembers". I guarantee you that if you are an attorney advising a presidential campaign and somebody suggests colluding with a foreign government, you would remember that fact. Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Posted 14 November 2017, 11:28 a.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

As I vividly recall, many in the BHO admin lied to Congress with no justice pursued. Isn't it ironic that Dems can lie and get away with it but let a Republican be challenged and all hell breaks loose?

Posted 14 November 2017, 12:57 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

He lies with impunity.

Posted 14 November 2017, 1:07 p.m. Suggest removal

glh05230944 says...

Maybe there is something in the water in Alabama that causes memory loss...

Posted 14 November 2017, 1:15 p.m. Suggest removal

GoBigRed says...

"Dead Possum" memory defense.

Posted 14 November 2017, 1:45 p.m. Suggest removal

TimberTopper says...

hoggy, since you so vividly recall the many in BHO admin lying, enlighten the rest of us on who, what, and where, as well as the lies and the proof of those lies. Thanking you in advance for your ability of vivid recall!

Posted 14 November 2017, 2:01 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

I was about to ask the same. Come on, gohogs. Dazzle us with those vivid memories.

Posted 14 November 2017, 2:37 p.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

TT, you wouldn't remember so why waste my time (since you need refreshing).
Amgoo: Go put on your lipstick.

Posted 14 November 2017, 3:19 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

So you can't support your allegation.

Par for the course. I didn't think you'd be able to, and you proved me right.

Posted 14 November 2017, 3:51 p.m. Suggest removal

3WorldState1 says...

Gohogs - empty rhetoric.
I saw some of the hearing. He was lying like the last hearing. Even if you didn't know anything, and you watched this guy answer these questions, you would say, "that guy is totally lying." Just your normal, built-in lie detector would go off.
Sad. Kanye is ruining everything good about our country.
No his son caught speaking with wiki leaks. That fake news too?

Posted 14 November 2017, 4:17 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

Again...you made an allegation, and you are unable to support that allegation with evidence.

And somehow, pointing this out makes me a pervert?

Nope.

But it sure as hell makes you a whiny coward.

Posted 14 November 2017, 4:54 p.m. Suggest removal

BOLTAR says...

The entire executive branch chases their Kool-aid with Milk of Amnesia.

Posted 14 November 2017, 5:35 p.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

amgoo: Your lifestyle is what makes you perverted. Damn, are you ever just plain stupid!

Posted 14 November 2017, 5:41 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

Lifestyle? I love our townhome lifestyle! So much less to worry about when we owned a traditional home back in Minnesota. I really don't miss the yard work. So that's what makes me a pervert? Not missing mowing, raking, fertilizing, etc?

That seems rather odd. But then, you are a rather odd (and pathologically angry) man.

Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to enjoy a cocktail and my townhome lifestyle while my husband puts supper together.

Posted 14 November 2017, 5:57 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

No "quotation marks" necessary. He is my husband. And all the bigotry and hatred you can muster won't change that fact.

Now...let's get back to your "vivid" memories you bragged about earlier. Are you pulling a Jeff Sessions now by conveniently "forgetting" things? That's pretty pathetic. But, again, so are you.

Face it, gohogs. You've got nothing. You add nothing. You change nothing.

You are nothing.

Cheers!

Posted 14 November 2017, 6:21 p.m. Suggest removal

BOLTAR says...

When the would-be insulter doesn't understand his insult is no longer an insult....

Posted 14 November 2017, 6:40 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

We reclaimed that word a generation ago, gohogs. "Queer" is about as insulting as "Presbyterian."

Homophobes are very often self-loathing closet cases. You do know this, yes?

Posted 14 November 2017, 6:45 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

GoHogs,

Every time you post an anti-gay slur, I will suggest removal of the post. If the posts are not removed, then I will lead a demonstration against the ADG. Everybody have a good day!

Posted 14 November 2017, 7:27 p.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

PM, why don't you mind your own business? You libs can say whatever you want, anytime you want and yet let anyone else say something that's true, you protest. As for your threat to suggest removal, I'm reminded of this quote from GWTW, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".

Posted 14 November 2017, 7:48 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

Now he's regaling us with Gone With The Wind quotes?

I think we found one!

Posted 14 November 2017, 8 p.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

amgoo had too many cocktails with his husband.

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:29 p.m. Suggest removal

GoBigRed says...

Interesting Gohog, you want to say whatever you want but want libs to shut up if they challenge you. Actually, you seem to be avoiding saying anything true. We are still waiting for your evidence and supporting links.

Posted 14 November 2017, 10:08 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

We'll be waiting quite a while, GBR. He has no evidence to support what he claims. He never does. Typical behavior for a Trumpanzee.

Posted 14 November 2017, 10:12 p.m. Suggest removal

TimberTopper says...

hoggy, once again you've let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird azz. You, like Trump need to understand that sometimes your bluff gets called.

Posted 15 November 2017, 5:01 a.m. Suggest removal

Dontsufferfools says...

Have to wonder if Sessions, who seems an unlikely candidate to be on Putin's payroll {unlike the Trump, Kushner, Flynn, Manafort, Tillerson, Ross, et al cabal) is aware of some of the collusion and is now mired in the coverup. As it's often said, it's not the crime but the coverup that snares some people in these situations.

Posted 15 November 2017, 8:15 a.m. Suggest removal

WhododueDiligence says...

PopMom, since the ADG is not the offending party, a demonstration against the ADG doesn't seem like the right course of action. It might be better to let the actual offending party's offensive posts go uncensored for all to see. The ADG seems to have good policies for (infrequent) removal of posts.

Posted 15 November 2017, 9:14 a.m. Suggest removal

TimberTopper says...

I wonder, if the AG's memory is hazy as he states, shouldn't he be checked to see if he is truly mentally competent to do the AG job?

Posted 15 November 2017, 9:26 a.m. Suggest removal

BOLTAR says...

He remembers well those few things that help him.

Posted 15 November 2017, 9:31 a.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

WhoDo,

A few times when people have posted racist posts, I have objected and the ADG has deleted them. I think that they also have done it with some of the gay posts which go too far. I actually trust that they will do so. I don't think that I will have to lead any demonstrations.

Posted 15 November 2017, 9:37 a.m. Suggest removal

3WorldState1 says...

This guy (Sessions) actually said he didn't remember Popadopolis mentioning Russia but he remembers squashing Popadopalis' "idea" of speaking with his Russian contacts. How can those both be true. He actually said that!!!!
Sessions is a liar.

Posted 15 November 2017, 11:24 a.m. Suggest removal

WhododueDiligence says...

Some of gohogs' posts have entertainment value. Yesterday gohogs posted that he vividly recalled many in the Obama administration lying to Congress with no justice pursued. After gohogs was repeatedly asked to give specifics of who lied and what were their lies, instead of saying something to give substance to those vivid memories of his, gohogs said something about Gone With The Wind.
Here's hoping no entertainment gems get deleted.

Posted 15 November 2017, 11:43 a.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

I just love it when ALL you libs want to jump on me, all at one time. I must be saying something to offend you which pleases me greatly.

Posted 15 November 2017, 12:20 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

GoHogs,

Yes. We all get that you are full of hate and sadism, and yet, you claim to be a Christian.

Posted 15 November 2017, 1:54 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

go hogs is no Christian. He's a whiny little snowflake who intentionally antagonizing Zeus others with his hateful screeds, only to blubber like a toddler when anyone challenges him.

One more time, go...any chance of posting even ONE of those "vivid memories" you cited earlier? Or are you simply going to lurk, troll and simper?

Posted 15 November 2017, 3:12 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

"Antagonizing Zeus" = "antagonizes"

Posted 15 November 2017, 3:13 p.m. Suggest removal

gohogs17 says...

AT least I'm a normal human being, unlike mr/mrs amgoo.

Posted 15 November 2017, 8:53 p.m. Suggest removal

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