Trump has memory lapse over meeting about Russian officials

Saul Bowman
November 6, 2017

Also, it was only a matter of time before people began speculating who would be cast to play him in the inevitable made-for-TV movie about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation campaign-meddling investigation.

Senate Democrats want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify before Congress about why he failed to disclose a March 2016 meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump and members of his campaign team in which an adviser allegedly offered to set up a meeting between the president and Vladimir Putin.

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In addition to Leahy and Blumenthal, Senators Al Franken (Minn.) and Chuck Schumer (NY) are calling for the attorney general to testify.

Even so, it's unclear how hard Democrats will go after Sessions even if they conclude that he lied to Congress.

A source close to Sessions defended the attorney general, promising he "has been entirely truthful and consistent on this matter".

Both Papadopoulos' and Page's statements appear to cast doubt on comments made by Sessions to the Senate multiple times since his confirmation hearing in early January, as well as remarks made by the president. He later told CNN's Jim Sciutto the Russian official's name.


Asked about the meeting on Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House, "it was a very unimportant meeting, took place a long time, don't remember much about it".

During a March 2016 meeting of the foreign policy advisory committee that Sessions chaired and Trump attended, Papadopoulos said he could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, according to the court filing.

On Sessions, Gordon said: "I don't fault the senator for not recalling things Carter (Page) or George (Papadopoulos) may have told him in private settings".

"He committed perjury. He should not be in that position", Lieu said. "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians".

Trump had nominated Clovis, his 2016 campaign's national co-chairman, to a top post as chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture.

"He now needs to come back before the Committee, in person, under oath, to explain why he can not seem to provide truthful, complete answers to these important and relevant questions", Leahy said in a statement.

"It might be worth writing a letter and saying 'What happened?' I wouldn't mind writing a letter, because he was pretty definitive he never had that discussion about Russia", Graham of SC said in an interview.

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