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Trump's Attorney General also has ties to Russia

Trump's Attorney General also has ties to Russia U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had encounters with the Russians during the presidential campaign, despite saying under oath in his confirmation hearing he "did not have communication with the Russians", Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times reported on Wednesday-Thursday.

First, it was reported Washington Post that Donald Trump’s new Attorney General met twice with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 election

Sessions, an early Donald Trump supporter, is said to have met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak once in September 2016, coinciding with U.S. intelligence officials investigating Russian interference in the presidential election, and once in summer of that year.

The Alabama Attorney General, a policy advisor to the Republican candidate who was considered a possible Vice Presidential nominee, failed to disclose those communications at his confirmation hearing in January after being pressed about what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with the Russian government.

Sessions has issued fresh denials that he spoke to Russian officials to discuss the elections. He told NBC News the reports were "unbelievable", adding that he would only recuse himself from an investigation into Russian involvement in the election "whenever it's appropriate" to do so.

Still, the Justice Department does not deny Sessions met the ambassador in July and September 2016, but says that he did so in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Forces committee and not to discuss the election.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores insisted on Wednesday night that “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer”. Some Democrats have said the omission is grounds enough for Sessions to be relieved of his post, while Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sessions “must” now recuse himself of any role investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia.

In addition to The Washington Post’s report, the Wall Street Journal quoted sources as saying U.S. investigators have already started examining contacts between Sessions and Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

But the sources said it was unclear whether that inquiry was still going on, and what its findings were.

The newspaper reported that the FBI had been leading the investigation, which was part of a wide-ranging probe by the intelligence services into communications between Trump surrogates and Russian operatives.

For now the story finishes with the New York Times report that meetings took place during the election in multiple European cities, between Russian officials and associates of Trump.

The article cited three former American officials and said the meetings had been monitored by the British and Dutch intelligence services who then in turn notified the U.S. government under Barack Obama.

American spies had also intercepted Russian communications in which officials, including some with the Kremlin, discussed contacts with the Trump team, the Times reported.

Trump has denied having any knowledge that aides were in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, and such denials prompted Obama-era officials to rush to preserve any evidence to the contrary, according to the Times.

On Tuesday the Associated Press reported that White House lawyers instructed the president's aides to preserve any materials that could be connected to Russian interference in the election.
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