In his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions forcefully pushed back against allegations that he lied about meetings with Trump campaign officials regarding contact with Russian officials.
Sessions insisted to House lawmakers that he has “always told the truth” to the best of his recollection and that accusations to the contrary are “a lie.”
“Lastly, I would like to address the false charges made about my previous testimony,” said Sessions. “My answers have not changed. I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question as I understood them and to the best of my recollection, as I will continue to do today.”
The attorney general continued:
I would like to address recent news reports regarding meetings during the campaign attended by George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, among others. Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
I do now recall that the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting. 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 I would gladly have reported it…
…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 the dinner.
Most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign. And none of you had a part in the Trump campaign… it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled, sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply.
And I was still a full-time senator with a very full schedule…
… I have been asked to remember details from a year ago, such as who I saw on what day, in what meeting, and who said what when.
In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.