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Seven Democrat senators met with Russian ambassador
Democrats were aghast after learning Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice, as a senator, with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. without telling Congress at his confirmation hearing – but it turns out Sergey Kislyak is no stranger to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The longtime Russian ambassador met with seven then-Democratic senators in a single sit-down in 2013, among other discussions – and reportedly was a frequent visitor to the Obama White House.
As House Speaker Paul Ryan put it Thursday, “We meet with ambassadors all the time.”
The central issue dogging Sessions is not so much that he met with the ambassador but that he claimed during his confirmation hearing he had no “communications” with Russian officials during his time as a Trump campaign surrogate. In a press conference, though, Sessions rejected claims he misled Congress and suggested he was answering in the context of campaign-related discussions, which he maintains he never had.
But some Sessions critics nevertheless portrayed meetings with Kislyak, whose country was accused of meddling in the 2016 campaign, as a rare summit, particularly for a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee like Sessions.