Congressional lawmakers are looking into whether Jeff Sessions had additional undisclosed meetings with a Russian ambassador before Donald Trump’s election.
The inquiry centers around an April 27 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., in which US intelligence officials said Sessions, who was a senator and a Trump surrogate at the time, attended a VIP reception with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, and others, CNN reported. Trump was giving a foreign-policy speech at the hotel that day.
The FBI is conducting its own inquiry into the Trump campaign’s activities with Kislyak at that event, the CNN report said. It is part of a broad investigation of Russia’s meddling in the US election, which was seen by investigators as the Kremlin’s bid to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton
It is not yet clear whether Sessions any other Trump surrogates had a private meeting with the Russians at that April 27 event, and any personal contact could have been incidental, the report said.
Sessions acknowledged two previous meetings he and Kislyak had during the 2016 election campaign. A Justice Department official said both instances were in Sessions’ capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and not as a surrogate for Trump.
Sessions failed to mention those meetings during Senate confirmation hearings for his appointment as US attorney general, which raised further questions about the multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives during and after the election.
Soon after news of Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak was reported, Sessions recused himself from Russia-related investigative matters at the Justice Department and updated his Senate testimony to show that he did indeed meet with the Russians before the election.