During his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly denied having any knowledge of or involvement in colluding with Russia to impact the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, calling such a suggestion an “appalling and detestable lie.”
In his opening statement, Sessions denied the allegations that he had any role in the alleged collusion while serving as a member of the Trump presidential campaign. He also shut down reports that suggested he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington prior to the election.
“I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” Sessions said. “I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian official. If any brief interaction occurred in passing with Russian ambassador, I do not remember.”
His voice rose as he continued to insist that he did not participate in or coordinate any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
“I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country that I have served with honor for 35 years, to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie,” he said.
Later on during his testimony, however, Sessions admitted it was “possible” that a third meeting with Kislyak might have happened and that he would have “gladly reported it” if he “remembered it, or if it actually occurred.”
The attorney general’s statement comes after he reportedly neglected to disclose two other meetings with Russian officials, once during his Senate confirmation hearing and again when he applied for his security clearance.