WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered a defense Tuesday against what he called “an appalling and detestable lie” that he may have colluded with the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election.
Showcasing his loyalty to President Donald Trump in a Senate hearing but declining to answer central questions about his or the president’s conduct, Sessions insisted repeatedly that it would be “inappropriate” to discuss his private conversations with Trump, however relevant they might be.
“I am not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others,” said Sessions, a former senator from Alabama.
Sessions opened his testimony to the panel with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about “any type of interference” in the 2016 presidential election.
“The suggestion that I participated in any collusion … is an appalling and detestable lie,” Sessions said.
Sessions took particular aim at news reports about a possible meeting he had with a Russian official during an April 2016 event at the Mayflower hotel, where Trump gave a pro-Russia speech. He acknowledged being at the event and said he had conversations with those there but did not remember any with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said. If he did have a conversation with…
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