>> I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting.>> As President Trump heads off on a trip to Asia, the low-level campaign aide who pleaded guilty in the Russia probe is causing headaches for the president and for his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where there are new questions about whether Trump and Session are telling the whole story as investigators try to figure out whether the campaign worked with the Kremlin in last year's election.
Both men say they were not aware of any efforts to reach out to Moscow, but those accounts undermined by former aide George Papadopoulos who's cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Now Democrats want to bring Sessions back for another round of questions before the Senate, and Trump is feeling the heat as well.
Court documents show that Papadopoulos claimed, in a March 2016 meeting, that he had connections that could set up a visit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both Sessions and Trump were at that meeting, according to a photo released by the campaign. The New York Times reported that Sessions squelched the idea, and told people in the room not to talk about it.
Senate Democrats say this is further evidence that Sessions has not told the truth when asked under oath about this matter. They're now pushing to get him back on Capitol Hill for more questioning. Session also is under pressure from Trump to investigate Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival in the 2016 election.
Trump said he is unhappy with Sessions's justice department, the Russia probe driving a further wedge between the president and one of his most loyal supporters. Trump meanwhile has been asked repeatedly about whether he knew of any Russia contacts. His answer on Friday that he didn't remember much about the meeting is a shift from his flat denials of the past.
But it's consistent with the picture that his allies have painted that Papadopoulos had zero influence in the campaign. That may be the case, but this low level aide is now causing real problems for the President and the Attorney General of the United States. Those problems will be waiting when Trump returns to the White House, nearly two weeks from now.