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Attorney General discussed Trump campaign with Russians, leaks show

Jeff Sessions had previously testified that he had no recollection of any encounter

22 July 2017, 5:40pm
Last updated on 22 July 2017, 5:49pm
Trump has criticised the leaks, saying they must stop (Photo: EPA)
Trump has criticised the leaks, saying they must stop (Photo: EPA)
The Russian Ambassador in Washington told superiors in Moscow that policy issues were discussed with Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
The discussions took place prior to Trump’s election, during the 2016 presidential race.

Sessions had previously denied the allegation, calling it “an appalling and detestable lie”.

Ambassador Kislyak’s reports of the conversations were detected by US spy agencies.  While Sessions later admitted to contacting Kislyak, he stated that the meetings were unrelated to the Trump campaign.

A former official of the US interceptions however says that the information gathered points toward discussions on then candidate Trump’s position on Russia related issues. Sessions also attempted to negotiate better US-Russia relations.

Sessions had previously testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter with Kislyak.

US officials have also admitted to being told about two conversations between Kislyak and Sessions – one prior to Trump’s first major foreign policy speech and another during the Republican National Convention.

“I wouldn’t have hired Sessions had I known he would have to recuse himself from the investigation”, said Trump in an interview to the Times. However, he has also disagreed with the Washington Post’s publication of the leaks, tweeting, “These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!”

"Comey" refers to James Comey, the former FBI boss Mr Trump fired after court documents showed that he contacted Russia on matters related to the Trump campaign.

Uncertainty still hovers over the case however, as Russian diplomats have been known to report false information to improve their standing with their superiors or to confuse US intelligence agencies that might be intercepting.

US officials with regular access to Russian intelligence reports however, say Kislyak has a reputation for accurately reporting details about his interactions to his friends in Washington.