New testimony from former Trump aide George Papadopoulos seems to implicate Attorney General Jeff Sessions in activities of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. In addition, if Papadopoulos is to be believed, Sessions may have committed perjury when he lied in his sworn testimony to Congress about his involvement in approving meetings between Russia and Trump campaign officials.
According to documents filed by attorneys for Papadopoulos, he was in a meeting when the president “nodded” approval when he suggested that he meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to the 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press reports that the lawyers for Papadopoulos submitted a document where they say that Papadopoulos was hired by the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser in March 2016. This occurred even though he had no experience with Russian or U.S. diplomacy. Subsequently Papadopoulos went to Italy where he met with an English professor who introduced him to a woman who claimed to be a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. She also claimed to have access to confidential information that would provide controversial “dirt” on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that could be used to hurt her campaign.
“Eager to show his value to the campaign,” defense lawyers wrote about Papadopoulos, who met with Trump and his foreign policy advisers to tell them that he could set up a meeting between Trump and Putin.
“While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it,” defense lawyers continued.
The reference to “Mr. Sessions” is of course about current Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He later told Senate investigators under oath that he had no knowledge of Russian involvement in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign for which he was a very senior adviser.
Based on the testimony of Papadopoulos, it appears that the Attorney General lied to Senate investigators about his personal involvement in colluding with the Russian government while he was a Trump campaign official. This would make him guilty of both collusion and perjury.
Sessions, when asked by Senate investigators about the meeting with Papadopoulos, said that he “pushed back” on the idea of the Putin summit instead of agreeing it should be done.
Based on past experience, it is likely that U.S. Senators who previously met with Sessions will now want to meet with him again to find out if he lied to them. It is possible that the Attorney General could find himself in some very hot water as Robert Mueller‘s Russia probe continues to pick up steam.