Responding to a lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice in April, by the American Oversight group, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a government form Thursday regarding contacts he has had with foreign nationals… but much of the form was reportedly blank and did not list any foreign contacts.
Sessions has been pounded over a meeting he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016, but has stated it was only in his capacity as a Senator and had nothing to do with the presidential election.
In congressional testimony in June, Sessions adamantly denied that he ever colluded with Russian officials or had any conversations with foreign officials concerning any type of interference with a presidential campaign.
Since he was active in the the Trump campaign, Sessions recused himself from any federal investigation into the allegations about Russia meddling in the presidential election.
Thursday, Sessions released the requested government form SF-86, indicating he had no immediate contact with any foreign government or its representatives in the past seven years.
On the form, the box is checked “No” which asks, “Have you or any member of your immediate family in the past seven years had any contact with a foreign government, its establishment (such as embassy, consulate, agency, military service, intelligence or security service, etc.) or its representatives, whether inside or outside the U.S.?”
Additional details are redacted under a privacy exemption.
Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said regarding the released document:
“As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign dignitaries and their staff. In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.”
American Oversight is a new watchdog group formed in March by a group of lawyers who have teamed up to track the Trump administration’s ethics and “expose potential conflicts and missteps.” It’s executive director is Austin Evers, a former State Department lawyer in the Obama administration.
Responding to the released document, Evers accused Sessions of lying and making a false statement:
“It’s one thing to know that the Attorney General lied on his security clearance form, but it’s another to see a potential felony in black and white,” Evers said. “Mr. Sessions has advised federal prosecutors across the country to charge defendants with the most serious crimes, carrying the toughest penalties. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should take him at his word.”
He continued, “Making false statements in a security clearance application can be a felony, and American Oversight is deeply concerned that Trump administration political appointees may be interfering in the FOIA process to protect the Attorney General from the release of potentially incriminating information.”
Sessions and the DOJ also just released a notice about their recent investigation into the largest healthcare fraud bust in the nation’s history.
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