While at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in August, then-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions — who was confirmed as Attorney General in early February — used political funds from his reelection account to pay for campaign expenses at the RNC, where he met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, ABC News confirmed Thursday.
But in a statement Wednesday night, Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.”
Sessions was specifically questioned by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, during his confirmation hearing about the alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
“If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?” asked Franken.
“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities,” said Sessions. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians and I’m unable to comment on it.”
Sessions did have contact with Russia on multiple occasions, but his spokeswomen, Sarah Isgur Flores, downplayed those interactions, saying Wednesday, “There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer. 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 and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”
Earlier Thursday, Sessions recused himself from any existing or future probes related to any campaigns for president.