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Trump campaign aide met Russian officials in 2016: NY Times

05 November 2017

According to court filings, at that meeting, Papadopoulos said he had Russian connections who could help him arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. So how does this new information that he was in this room, that he knew about this, how does this complicate situation for Jeff Sessions?

Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Sessions to return to Capitol Hill.

Trump says he's "not really involved" with the Justice Department, saying he'd like to let it run itself, but adds, "Honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats". It was the first meeting of then-candidate Trump's foreign policy team at a time when he was being roundly criticized for not having foreign policy credentials and not being able to name any major players who were helping him out.

Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 in Republican leadership who serves on the intelligence and judiciary panels, said he was unaware of Sessions' attendance at that meeting until now.

"Understandably, it was as irrelevant then as it is now", Page told CNN. But court documents filed this week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser, said he had interactions with Russians and was told Moscow had "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

According to aides to Sessions who weren't authorized to speak publicly about the matter, the attorney general did not give false testimony and disputes any description of the March 31 meeting that suggests Papadopoulos informed those present that he was in contact with the Russian government.

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"Did you overhear a conversation between you and anybody on the campaign who talked about meeting with the Russians?"

And during his January 10 confirmation hearing with the same committee, Sessions said that he was "not aware" of anyone in the Trump campaign communicating with the Russian government.

Blumenthal wrote Sessions that he should "immediately come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to update [his] testimony and correct any omissions and any statements that may have been incorrect or misleading".

The meeting has become a focal point this week because it was revealed that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last month to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about contacts he had during the campaign with people with purported ties to the Russian government.

On Wednesday, Democrats said Sessions needs to clarify his comments.

Sessions testified in June that he wasn't aware of any conversations between "anyone connected to the Trump campaign" and Russians about "any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States".

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The person familiar with Sessions' activity during the campaign said his testimony has been truthful and consistent.

At the Senate judiciary hearing last month, Sen.

Sessions said, "I did not, and I'm not aware of anyone else that did".

"I think there are many more questions for Jeff Sessions", said Sen.

"I don't know", Sessions responded.

When Tapper asked if Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general, was "the only one on the campaign that knew about the trip", Page replied: "I mentioned it to a few people".

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Trump campaign aide met Russian officials in 2016: NY Times