Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified this week at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was never a part of any involvement with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election. He referred to the accusation as an “appalling and detestable lie.” Sessions stated that he never questioned nor took part in any Russian meddling in the election. This sworn testimony is now being called into question after contradictory information was provided by Richard Burt, an American working as a lobbyist on the behalf of Russia.
In an interview with The Guardian, Burt stated that he did, in fact, meet with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 election campaign. He said the following: “I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions.” This directly contradicts one of Sessions’ statements during his testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
During the testimony, Senator John McCain asked Sessions: “During that 2016 campaign season, did you have any contacts with any representative, including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company within or outside your capacity as a member of Congress or a member of the Armed Services Committee?” In response, Sessions stated: “I don’t believe so.”
This clear contradiction casts doubt on everything Sessions claimed in his testimony. While some may instead doubt Burt’s version of events, those doubts are dissuaded by an October report from Politico claiming that those dinners did indeed take place and were even hosted by Sessions. Those dinners occurred while Sessions chaired Donald Trump’s national security committee. According to Politico, Burt and Sessions spoke at those dinners about national security as well as foreign policy issues. Burt also wrote white papers on those to topics for Sessions.
Sessions has previously denied having had contact with Burt as well as other Russian political participants, but it has come to light that Burt became involved with the Trump campaign as early as April of 2016. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is another Russian contact whom Sessions claimed to have never met, but he contradicted himself in his most recent testimony. At his confirmation hearing, he stated: “I did not have communications with the Russians.” He changed his tune at the testimony by admitting that he did have two meetings with Kislyak during the 2016 campaign. This lie had previously been revealed by the Washington Post.