Court documents unsealed this week have renewed interest in whether Attorney General Jeff Session misled Congress when he testified recently that neither he nor anyone else was in contact with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign, CBS News’ Jeff Pegues reports.
Last month, Sessions testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that neither he nor anyone else was in contact with Russian operatives during the election cycle. But Pegues reports the court documents unsealed this week claim George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with foreign nationals, offered to set up a meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Papadopoulos made the offer during a meeting that both Sessions and Mr. Trump attended in March 2016.
Reported testimony from former campaign policy adviser Carter Page only adds to questions about what Sessions knew. CNN on Thursday reported Page testified in closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that he told Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The New York Times reported Friday night that Page testified that he had met with Russian government officials during the trip, contradicting multiple denials he has made in the press.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who is in charge of the committee’s Russia investigation, confirmed to CNN that Page gave such testimony, but minimized its meaning.
“I don’t make anything sinister out of it,” Conaway told CNN. “He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other,” Conaway told CNN. “If I were Sessions, I wouldn’t have recalled it either. It was just in passing. He was walking out of the room. A guy he had never met before, grabs him, ‘Hey, I’m out on the team. I changed my travel plans to go to Russia.'”
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, told CBS News there is “no question” Sessions needs to appear before Congress again in an open session to “reconcile” his testimony.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign does not appear to be slowing down. Mueller’s team is set to interview White House communications director Hope Hicks once the president’s team returns from a trip to Asia.
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