Sessions says to Senate committee allegations of collusion with Russia ‘appalling lie’

WASHINGTON D.C. (KUSI) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said before a Senate committee Tuesday allegations that he colluded or was aware of any collusion with Russian officials during the 2016 election were false.

Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday accusations that he had any undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador or conversations with Russian officials about interfering in the U.S. election were a "detestable and appalling lie."

Former FBI director James Comey told senators in a closed session last week Sessions may have had a third and undisclosed meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. Sessions and the Department of Justice have denied the accusations.

The Senate hearing was called because Sessions "believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him," according to the Justice Department. During the hearing, a member of the committee said they would have called Sessions to testify at a later date, but were glad the attorney general called for the hearing early. 

During the hearing, Sessions said former FBI director James Comey’s statements to the same Senate committee the week before were not recalled properly.

Comey said in his testimony last week he had asked Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with President Donald Trump after the president allegedly asked Comey to back off the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. 

"He didn’t recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy," Sessions said.  

The Senate committee said Tuesday the attorney general misrepresented himself during his confirmation hearing in February when he was asked about meetings with Russian officials during the campaign. Session said his answer during the hearing was fair and correct. 

Sessions also said his recusal from the Russia investigation was only because of his involvement in the Trump campaign and not because he knew anything about Russian meddling. 

"I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations."

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