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What You Need to Know About Attorney General Jeff Sessions & Russia

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the latest Trump Cabinet member to land in hot water over his communications with Russia. The controversy stems from two conversations he had with the Russian ambassador last July and September, during the presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post. But the meetings themselves aren’t even the biggest issue. Sessions was asked about talks with Russia at his confirmation hearing, and he denied ever speaking with them.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians,” Sessions said when asked how he would respond if he found out people in Trump’s campaign had talked to Russia. But he did. And lawmakers are not happy about it—especially because the federal attorney general is the one who would oversee an investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

The first meeting was during the Republican National Convention in July, the Post reports. Sessions gave a speech to a group of 50 ambassadors, and some of them, including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, approached Sessions after the talk. The second meeting was a one-on-one between Sessions and Kislyak on Sept. 8. It’s not known what the two talked about at that meeting, and Sessions claims they only talked about matters related to his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But at the time, he was also closely advising the Trump campaign.

Now, The New York Times reports, members of Congress are calling for Sessions to recuse himself from that investigation. Others are calling for Sessions to resign altogether.

In the midst of all this, it’s important to remember that former national security adviser Michael Flynn recently lost his Cabinet position for misleading others about his talks with Russia.

Sessions told MSNBC Thursday morning that “I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign, and those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false.” But he did say he would recuse himself from the investigation if it was “appropriate.”

Katherine Mirani is the News Editor for Her Campus. She graduated from Northwestern University's journalism school in 2015. Before joining Her Campus full time, she worked on investigative stories for Medill Watchdog and the Scripps News Washington Bureau. When not obsessing over journalism, Katherine enjoys pasta, ridiculous action movies, #longreads, and her cockatiel, Oreo.
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