Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked Sessions on Tuesday to disclose a White House meeting with a Russian official in which the attorney general said he was asked to intervene in the election in favor of Trump, despite the fact that Trump himself has been critical of Sessions.
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Sessions during his confirmation hearing whether he would be willing to answer questions about a June 2016 meeting between Sessions and Sergey Kislyak, who was Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. at the time.
Sessions, then a Trump campaign surrogate, said he did not recall that meeting and was “not aware of any communications between me and the Russian ambassador regarding the election,” according to a transcript of the hearing released by the Judiciary Committee.
But Whitehouse pressed Sessions to make his comments public because he had previously written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Jr. to ask him to disclose that meeting.
“Please tell me, why would you say that you were asked to do something that you did not do?”
“Why would you lie?”
The Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Al Franken (D.-Minn.), said Sessions should “clear his name” and “apologize” to the Senate for his comments.
The White House has called the claims against Sessions “false” and said he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice.
After the hearing, Sessions said he had met with Kislyak in June 2016 but did not remember what he told the Russian envoy about the election.
He also said he never saw Kislyak at a White Street reception during the campaign.
Sen. Chris Coons (D.
Va.), who chairs the Judiciary committee, said the White House is trying to “get this story to the public” so that “they can discredit the entire Russia investigation.”