Transcript for Jeff Sessions testifies again before Congress
We turn next here to trorng Jeff sessions, back before congress, grilled on Russia and asked whether or not he told the truth. Today, he was asked about that campaign meeting with campaign adviser George papadopoulos, the man who pleaded guilty and who is now cooperating with Robert Mueller. You can see they were just a couple of seats away from one another. Tonight, sessions sails he only remembered that meeting after news reports surfaced about it. Here's ABC's senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. Reporter: Tonight, the attorney general for the third time on capitol hill, answering questions about Russia. And after already amending his answers before, today he was defiant, saying he has not lied about Russia. I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie. Reporter: Just last month, sessions testified he never knew of any communications between Russian operatives and the trump campaign. I'm not aware of those activities. And I wasn't and am not. I don't believe they occurred. Reporter: Since then, we learned sessions was sitting right there, just one seat away from former trump adviser George papadapoulos, when papadapoulos said he had connections who could arrange a meeting between trump and Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump sitting there, too. Today, the attorney general said he had forgotten about that conversation, and only remembered it after news reports of the meeting. I do now recall that the March 2016 meeting at the trump hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting. Reporter: But even though sessions said he did not remember details of the meeting, he says he does remember what he told papadopoulos. There are reports that you shut George down, unquote, when he proposed that meeting with Putin. Is this correct, yes or no? Yes. I pushed back. Reporter: His answer to how he could forget a meeting like this? It was a brilliant campaign, I think, in many ways, but it was a form of chaos every day from day one. Reporter: Sessions was pressed about his own communications with the Russians during the campaign. In his senate confirmation hearing, he said there were none, only to later acknowledge meeting with the Russian ambassador. You did have communications with the Russians, right? I had a meeting with the Russian ambassador, yes. That is the exact opposite of testimony you gave to us senate. So, either, you're lying to the U.S. Senate or lying to the U.S. House of representatives. Reporter: The attorney general facing heat from congress and the white house, as well. The A.G. Under pressure from president trump, who has been pushing the justice department to investigate his political opponents. They should be looking at the Democrats and a lot of people are disappointed in the justice department, including me. Reporter: We're now learning that just ten days after the president's comments, sessions' office informed office prosecutors would look into naming a special council to investigate the Clinton foundation. But tonight, the attorney general insists, he's not a pawn of the president. The department of justice can never be used to retaliate politically against opponents and that would be wrong. And Pierre Thomas with us live tonight. And Pierre, attorney general Jeff sessions was repeatedly pressed on that notion that the president is pressuring him to now go after Mr. Trump's political opponent, Hillary Clinton. Sessions was asked what it would take for him to name a special council to investigate Clinton and the Democrats what was his answer? Reporter: He said, there would have to be a factual basis, in other words, evidence that a crime may have been committed. But remember, David, sessions resed himself from matters relating to the 2016 campaign, so, it's unclear how this is going to turn out.
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