Now, speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, Sessions said he recalled a March 2016 meeting with Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos, in pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents, has admitted he told Trump and a group of other campaign officials, including Sessions, that he had contacts who could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.
“I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting,” Sessions said. “After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter. But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper.”
Sessions clarified later that he recalled Papadopoulos made “some comment” about a Trump-Putin meeting, and he “pushed back.”
Democrats had vowed to press Sessions about his and other former Trump campaign aides’ dealings with Russians leading up to the 2016 election, and early in the hearing, they made good on that promise. In his opening statement, U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) went through Sessions’s public statements on Russia-related matters, highlighting instances in which what Sessions said did not comport with other evidence.