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Attorney General Jeff Sessions while still a US senator met twice with the Russian ambassador during last year’s presidential campaign, something the close adviser to President Donald Trump failed to disclose when asked during his January confirmation hearings.
Mr Sessions, 70, met on September 8 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kisylak in the senator’s private office in the US Capitol building after having spoken with him briefly two months earlier after delivering a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The meetings occurred as Russian officials were mounting an increasingly aggressive effort to interfere with the US election campaign in a bid to aid Mr Trump’s election chances, US intelligence agencies concluded earlier this year.
Late Wednesday, as Democrats howled that Mr Sessions had lied under oath and should recuse himself from any US Department of Justice investigation of the president’s Russian links, a spokeswoman said he had acted properly.
“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, the attorney general’s spokeswoman. “Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee…He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator.”