>> Hello, team.>> US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, back at work in Washington Friday after recusing himself from any investigations into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, and amid calls from more and more Democrats for him to resign. The outcry coming after the Washington Post revealed this week that Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador twice while he was a campaign advisor to Donald Trump.
Despite telling a Senate confirmation committee he had no contact with Russian officials.>> With the Russians.>> Sessions isn't the first aid to the President to get burned by contacts with this particular diplomat, Russia's U.S. envoy Sergey Kislyak. Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after reports he spoke to Kislyak multiple times in December, conversations in which they discussed US sanctions on Russia.
Sessions met with Kislyak at his Senate office in September, and before that in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention in July. Where he also reportedly managed to rub elbows with two other campaign advisers to Trump, JD Gordon and Carter Page, both one time members of Trump's national security advisory committee.
The New York times late Thursday reporting that as recently as December, Kislyak act met with Trump's son-in-law and close advisor, Jared Kushner, at Trump Tower in New York. The Russian ambassador even met with Trump, himself, briefly on April 27, after a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where The New York Times reports Kislyak sat in the front row.
Despite the frequent contact between his close aides and Kislyak, Donald Trump has continually denied any connections with Moscow.>> I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years.>> It's not unusual for presidential campaign advisors to meet with diplomats. And some have argued Kislyak was just doing his job, networking with people who are close to the next potential American president.
But Democrats and some national security experts say that denials and omissions by Sessions and Flynn about their interactions with the Russian ambassador raise red flags. And if there's one thing Kislyak's encounters prove, it's that US intelligence agencies are very aware of the ambassador's activities.