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Jeff Sessions tells Congress he did not lie about Russia contacts

Jeff Sessions tells Congress he did not lie about Russia contacts
From CBC - November 14, 2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a raised voice and defiant tone, strongly defended himself Tuesday against allegations that he had misled members of Congress about his knowledge of communications between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

"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 said in prepared remarks to the House Judiciary Committee. "But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."

His appearance before the House judiciary committee follows a guilty plea from one Trump campaign aide who served on a foreign policy advisory council that Sessions chaired, as well as statements from another adviser who said he had advised the then RepublicanAlabama senator about an upcoming trip to Russia.

Those details complicate Sessions's effort to downplay knowledge of the campaign's foreign contacts.

Democratic lawmakers already contend the attorney general has not been forthcoming with them and have signalled that questions about the new revelations are likely to dominate what could otherwise have been a routine oversight hearing.

"These facts appear to contradict your sworn testimony on several occasions," Democrats from the committee said in a letter to Sessions last week.

Republicanconcerns

Republicans, for their part, may press Sessions on the Justice Department's handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices as well as an Obama-era uranium deal that has invited Republicanscrutiny.

Sessions, an early Trump backer who led the foreign policy council during the campaign, has been shadowed for months by questions about his own communications with Russians and by contacts of others in the Trump orbit. That issue has been at the forefront of each of his congressional hearings even as Sessions has laboured to promote the Justice Department's work and priorities.

At his January confirmation hearing, Sessions told Democratic Sen. Al FrankenofMinnesota that"I did not have communications" with the Russians during the campaign and said he was "unaware" of contacts between others in the campaign and Russia.

Yet he recused himself in March from overseeing the Justice Department's investigation into potential co-ordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin after acknowledging two previously undisclosed encounters with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

He struck a similar note before the Senate judiciary committee last month, when he denied knowledge of communications between Russians and Trump campaign officials.

'Shut him down'

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