Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing renewed questions over how much he knew about Russian efforts to interfere with the us election, after it was revealed this week that he attended meetings with a Trump campaign adviser who claimed to have extensive contacts with Russians. In reality, the group met only once or twice and didn't really function.
Sessions' spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Franken letter.
Trump has previously denied that members of his campaign team had contact with Russian officials.
But an email from Papadopoulos included in the court filings made public on Monday suggests someone in the Trump camp may have actually okayed a meeting between campaign officials and the Russian government.
Yet, in a reflection of the extent to which the Russian Federation investigation and his own role as a Trump campaign ally have dominated public attention, Sessions first appeared months ago before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe of election meddling.
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A lawyer representing Clovis confirmed this week that Clovis was the person, identified as the "Campaign Supervisor" in court papers, who brought Papadopoulos onto an advisory committee on national security.
After initially balking at the question, Sessions said Mueller's team had not interviewed him as part of its investigation.
Senate Agricultural Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, told Politico that Clovis has been "a fully cooperative witness" in the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian meddling.
"The emerging information about his role in the Trump campaign's interactions with Russian Federation raises serious concerns".
Sam Clovis was one of the anonymous campaign officials cited in George Papadopoulos's plea deal. And, Jay Sekulow says, pardons for his former campaign aides facing federal charges "are not on the table".
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Asked under oath at a Senate hearing last month if he believed Trump campaign surrogates had communications with Russians, Sessions replied, "I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did, and I don't believe it happened".
He largely adhered to that principle during the five-hour hearing, refusing to say what Trump told him about his reasons for wanting to fire Comey, whether Trump confided in him his concern about "lifting the cloud" of the Russian Federation investigation and whether he had asked him to drop a criminal case against Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona.
"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.
The hearing marked a return to the Judiciary Committee for Sessions, who served on it for years as a Republican senator.
"Jeff Sessions was the head of the national security operation" in Trump's campaign, Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview. They say a professor told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that the Russians had "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. It is rare to see cases for perjury to Congress generally because the exchanges are often imprecise or rather fluid in nature. The Justice Department had no comment.
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