House judiciary Dems intend to press Sessions over Russia

AG's 'inconsistencies' under fire

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic lawmakers on the House judiciary committee intend to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his "inconsistencies" on the Trump campaign's Russia connections when he appears before their committee next week.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the lawmakers note that one of the Trump campaign's foreign policy advisers, George Papadopoulos, acknowledged to FBI investigators that he told several Trump campaign officers about his outreach to the Russia government.

The Democrats charge Sessions was inconsistent with details on the campaign's relationship with Russia, saying he's contradicted his own sworn testimony several times, and want more details about the Papadopoulos statement.

The letter cites several times when Sessions testified at congressional hearings and had different responses about the campaign's meetings with Russian officials.

"Again, it is difficult to square this statement with the facts," the lawmakers write. "If, as recent reports suggest, you rejected Mr. Papadopoulos's suggestion that President Trump meet with Vladimir Putin at that March 31 meeting -- a fact you appear to have remembered only after Mr. Papadopoulos's account was made public -- it seems likely that you were 'aware' of communications between the Russian government and surrogates of the Trump campaign."

The lawmakers continued: "When you appear before our committee, we intend to ask you about these inconsistencies. We are providing you with notice in advance because we expect you to respond."

The letter was signed by every Democratic member of the committee.

Sessions will appear at the House panel November 14.

Last Monday, unsealed court records revealed that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government -- one of the campaign's clearest connections so far to Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

According to the court documents, Papadopoulos suggested at a campaign meeting in March 2016 that then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet. A photo showed Sessions also attended that campaign meeting, and a source told CNN that at the meeting, Sessions vetoed the proposed Trump-Putin sit-down.

The latest revelations have increased scrutiny on Sessions, who previously came under fire for saying during his Senate confirmation hearing that he had no interactions with the Russians only to be later corrected that he met with Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign, who was the Russian ambassador to the US at the time. After the reports, Sessions acknowledged the meetings and went on to recuse himself from investigations related to the 2016 campaign.


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