Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a raised voice and defiant tone, strongly defended himself Tuesday against allegations that he had misled members of Congress about his knowledge of communications between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions said in prepared remarks to the House Judiciary Committee. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie.”
Sessions, who led a foreign policy advisory council for the Trump campaign, said he did not recall an encounter with another campaign adviser, Carter Page, who has said he told Sessions last year that he was preparing to visit Russia.
And he said that though he did not initially remember a separate meeting with George Papadopoulos, another aide who pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI, Sessions says he now recalls having told Papadopoulos that he was not authorized to represent the Trump campaign before the Russian government.
“I pushed back, I’ll just say it that way,” Sessions said under questioning.
The appearance before the committee comes amid deepening questions about Sessions’ awareness of contacts during the election effort between Russian government intermediaries and associates of the Trump campaign.