The two things were so unrelated that it never entered his consciousness.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions why Michael Flynn’s resignation didn’t prompt him to amend an answer he’d given about Russian contacts during his Senate confirmation process.
Clip via Fox News Channel
“From that point, February 13th, until now, why did no one from your staff come to you and say … perhaps we should amend our statement to the Senate?” Carlson asked.
Flynn was forced to tender his resignation as national security advisor after leaked reports of his conversation with a Russian official indicated that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of that conversation.
Sessions said this was a completely different set of circumstances and that he did not, in fact, lie.
He said that the question posed to him by Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, concentrated on Trump team conversations with Russian officials concerning the campaign — his talks with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had nothing to do with Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I never gave that a thought — never considered it,” Sessions told Carlson.
The then-Alabama senator’s meetings with Kislyak was in furtherance of his duties as a Senate Armed Services Committee member, and even Sen. Joe Minchin, a West Virginia Democrat, confirmed that this wasn’t unusual for committee members.
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, framed his question to Sessions around alleged Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials.
“My answer went straight to that,” Sessions said, noting that his contacts with the Russian ambassador had nothing to do with advancing Trump’s presidential bid.
The attorney general confirmed a Washington Post story that he’d met Kislyak twice — once in his office on Armed Services Committee business.
“I don’t believe anybody that was in that meeting would have seen that I [did] one thing that was improper,” Sessions said.
His second meeting occurred when a group of dignitaries greeted him at the conclusion of his speech at the Republican National Convention.
Carlson wondered why Sessions would recuse himself given his innocence.
“Recusal is not an admission of any wrongdoing,” Sessions said. He added that he and his staff began discussing his recusal on the Russian question because of his involvement in the campaign a week before the brouhaha erupted.
“I think I’ve performed exactly, correctly for an attorney general of the United States,” he added.
Sessions also said he’d never heard any conversations among campaign officials that the Russian government was assisting Trump’s presidential bid in any way.
He confirmed that he will file “a supplement to the record” of his response to Franken. “I will definitely make that a part of the record,” Sessions said.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee with Sessions, claimed Thursday that she had never met any Russian officials on committee business. She was brutally reminded that she’d met the Russian ambassador at least twice — just like Sessions.
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