Sessions Was Told Not To Disclose Russia Meetings On Security Forms

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Receives Award From The Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City

Sessions, who represented Alabama until his confirmation as the nation's top law enforcement officer this year, was the first USA senator to endorse Trump, backing him in February 2016.

This is the second time Sessions has declined to mention his contacts with Russians.

Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, defended Sessions' omission from his security clearance forms in a statement reported by The New York Times.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't reveal meetings he had with Russian officials previous year on forms he filled out to get security clearance, the Justice Department said.

The meetings are the same meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that Sessions also failed to note when he was chatting with the Senate to secure his position as attorney general.

Shortly after CNN ran their story, which quoted a Washington attorney who claimed that he would advise a client to disclose all official meetings, the Justice Department issued a press release firing back at the implication of wrongdoing. The form requires the person applying to list "any contact" he or his family had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said.

Lawmakers have raised questions about Sessions' meetings with Russian officials while he played a prominent role in the Trump campaign - meetings that he only disclosed after The Washington Post revealed them. Following the report, Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling.

Sessions could be a witness before the House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their ongoing probes into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation, lawmakers said. He made the same assertion in an official questionnaire.

Sessions filled out two such forms, Prior said, one in July, as he was first formally vetted by the Trump campaign, and one after the election in November. "It's simple - he should not be the Attorney General".

Sessions' failure to report the Russian meetings on his security forms isn't a great revelation. One of the meetings he had with the Russian ambassador, for example, was held in September - just two months before Election Day - against the backdrop of reports about Russia's efforts to intervene in the election. The report Wednesday says the Russians zeroed in on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, a former head of US military intelligence who was a key Trump campaign adviser.

The report prompted some Democrats to call for Sessions' resignation.

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