Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose two meetings he had with Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, on his security clearance form, according to the Justice Department.
The documentation for Sessions’ clearance requested a mandated list of all contacts with foreign governments or their representatives over a period of the past seven years.
Reportedly, an FBI official advised Sessions to not disclose the meetings since he had them when he was still a U.S. senator, according to a department official. A Justice Department official with knowledge of the situation explained the FBI’s recommendation. The official said that the stipulation would be particularly burdensome and broad for a senator.
The Justice Department’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior issued a response to the story, which CNN broke first, Wednesday evening. Prior insinuated Sessions followed the instructions given to him:
“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.”
The issue lies with Kislyak, who has been at the center of the Russian controversies being reported by mainstream media since Trump’s election. His contact with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn led to his ultimate resignation in February.
In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.
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