Attorney General Jeff Sessions might not recall anything about anything, but an American lobbyist who is paid to work on behalf of Russian interests says he attended two dinners with Sessions during the 2016 campaign. That directly contradicts what Sessions told a Senate panel during sworn testimony earlier this week, writes Stephanie Kirchgaessner of The Guardian:
Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.
“I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt said.
Asked whether Sessions was unfamiliar with Burt’s role as a lobbyist for Russian interests – a fact that is disclosed in public records – or had any reason to be confused about the issue, Burt told the Guardian that he did not know.
Burt helped craft portions of the foreign policy speech Donald Trump delivered at the Mayflower Hotel on April 27, 2016—an event that both Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended and has come under scrutiny.
During his testimony, Sessions denied knowing of any such contact with a lobbyist working on behalf of Russia.
When John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who is a frequent critic of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, asked Sessions in a hearing this week before the Senate intelligence committee about whether the attorney general had ever had “any contacts with any representative, including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company” during the 2016 campaign, Sessions said he did not.
“I don’t believe so,” Sessions said. [...]
It is also possible that Sessions was not fully aware of Burt’s lobbying history, although Burt’s affiliation with Russian interests is fairly well known in Washington circles.
In fact, according to Politico's first report on the dinners last fall, Burt came at Sessions' invitation:
In addition to helping shape Trump’s speech, Burt attended two dinners this summer hosted by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who had been named chairman of Trump’s national security committee. Burt was invited to discuss issues of national security and foreign policy, and wrote white papers for Sessions on the same subjects, according to Burt and another person with knowledge of the situation.
Huh. Hosted the dinner, invited the lobbyist, but somehow, memory fails.