Sessions Suffers Sudden Episode Of Amnesia When Asked About Papadopoulos Meeting
During the hotly-anticipated oversight hearing on capitol hill, Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed reports that he knew about the activities of former Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, who met with Russian officials during the 2016 election, by claiming a total mental blackout.
“Frankly, I had no recollection of this until I saw these news reports,” he told the panel.
He added that the reports about the meeting last year with Papadopoulos jogged his memory, but he does not remember specific details besides warning him that he does not “represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government.”
“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 during that meeting,” Sessions said in part.
“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 would gladly have reported it,” he continued.
Sessions denied remembering the account Page gave to the House Intelligence panel in which he described telling Sessions about his planned Russia trip during an event at the Capitol Hill Club.
“As for Mr. Page, while I do not challenge his recollection, I have no memory of his presence at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club or any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left,” he added.
Page’s account contradicts what Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing in June, in which he said he was not aware of any contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russia.
During the hearing, Sessions was also castigated by members of his own party for demanding that the Justice Department appoint a second special counsel to re-investigate Hillary Clinton over her private email server.
“I have chosen, as chairman of this committee, to let special counsel Robert Mueller do his job, free from undue political influence,” Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in his opening statement. “At the same time, however, this Committee will do its duty and conduct oversight of DOJ.”
“Numerous matters connected to the 2016 election remain unresolved,” Goodlatte said.
“You have recused yourself from matters stemming from the 2016 election, but there are significant concerns that the partisanship of the FBI and the Department has weakened the ability of each to act objectively.”
Democrats have slammed the proposal as a partisan effort.
“To quote former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, ‘putting political opponents in jail for offenses committed in a political setting … is something that we don’t do here,’ ” ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) said in his opening statement.
“The threat alone resembles, in his words, ‘a banana republic.’ ”