Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sessions Met Russian Ambassador Three Times

First Sessions at his Confirmation Hearing said he never meet with Russian Officials during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Then Attorney General (AG) Sessions said he meet with the Russian Ambassador two times. Once at the RNC and once in his office.

Sessions appears to have left out a third instance in which they crossed paths.

In April of 2016, Sessions attended a VIP Reception at a Hotel in Washington, D.C., with President-Elect Trump and roughly two dozen guests, including four Ambassadors. One of them was Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The cocktail meet-and-greet took place in a Private Room at the Mayflower Hotel near the White House. Shortly thereafter, Trump delivered a Foreign Policy Speech in the hotel’s ballroom, where he called for improved U.S.-Russia relations. Kislyak was seated in the front row.

Though the event was small, it is unclear if Sessions and Kislyak spoke directly, and a spokeswoman for the Attorney General did not respond immediately to questions about the Private Event from The Huffington Post. Organizers said after the Private Event their was a Receiving Line, which Sessions was to meet the Russian Ambassador again, before the Ambassador took his front-row seat.

Sessions did not mention the Mayflower event when he was asked during his Confirmation hearings if he had any contact during the Presidential Campaign with Russian officials. Nor did he put that event in his Amended Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

The Center for the National Interest, the Conservative Foreign Policy Organization that hosted Trump’s speech at the Mayflower, invited Kislyak to the Reception. An April 2016 story in Politico noted that Sessions also attended the event and was in the Senate Room of the Mayflower, along with “Ambassadors.”

On Wednesday, the center issued a statement that acknowledged that Kislyak and Sessions both attended the reception but added that it was “not aware of any conversation” between the two. “However, in a small group setting like this one, we consider it unlikely that anyone could have engaged in a meaningful private conversation without drawing attention from others present,” the statement read.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, meanwhile, said the President was there “for about five minutes” before going to the podium for his speech. There were “several ambassadors” also present, Sanders said, adding that the suggestion that Kislyak and Trump “met or that a meeting took place is disingenuous and absurd.”

But that answer does not answer to the fact he now twice has not answered the question completely. And will other meetings be discovered?

Last week, Sessions recused himself from any involvement in future Justice Department Investigations into Trump Campaign Contacts with Russia after U.S. Intelligence Agencies concluded that Russian Intelligence Agents had meddled in the U.S. Election.

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