25 Times Sessions Had a Convenient Memory Lapse While Testifying - Rolling Stone
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25 Times Jeff Sessions Had a Convenient Memory Lapse While Testifying

“I don’t recall” was the attorney general’s refrain in his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday

Jeff Sessions has a memory problem – or at least that was the impression the 70-year-old attorney general seemed intent on leaving with the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he testified on Tuesday. 

Sessions repeatedly told senators he did not recall, did not remember or had no recollection of the events they wanted answers about. As Sen. Kamala Harris pointedly noted, “Just on the first page of your three pages of written testimony, you wrote, ‘nor do I recall,’ ‘do not have recollection,’ ‘do not remember it.'”

Here are the dozens of things Sessions says he couldn’t remember Tuesday.

1. “I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations, with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel.”

2. “I attended a reception with my staff that included at least two dozen people and President Trump, though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, and I do not have recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials.”

3. “If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador in that reception, I do not remember it.”

4. Sen. Burr: “You said you don’t remember whether the ambassador from Russia was [at the Mayflower Hotel.]”
Sessions: “I did not remember that, but I understand he was there. So I don’t doubt that he was. I believe that representations are correct. I recently saw a video of him coming into the room.”

5. Sen. Burr: “You never remember having a conversation or meeting with the ambassador?”
Sessions: “I do not.”

6. Sen. Burr: “Have you had any other interactions with government officials over the year in a campaign capacity?”
Sessions: “No, Mr. Chairman. No. I’ve racked my brain to make sure I could answer those questions correctly and I did not. … When asked about whether I had any meetings with Russians by the reporter in March, we immediately recalled the conversation and the encounter I had at the convention and the meeting in my office and made that public. I never intended not to include that. I would have gladly have reported the meeting and encounter that may have occurred, and some say occurred, in the Mayflower if I had remembered it or if it actually occurred, which I don’t remember that it did.”

7. Sen. Warner: “You don’t recollect when [Jared Kusher] had the conversations with the ambassador?”
Sessions: “I do not.”

8. Sen. Warner: “To the best of your memory, you had no conversation with [Kislyak] at that meeting?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall that, senator. Certainly I can assure you nothing improper if I had a conversation with him. It’s conceivable, but I don’t remember it.”

9. Sen. Warner: “Again for the record, there was no other meeting with any other officials of the Russian government in the campaign season?”
Sessions: “Not to my recollection.”

10. Sen. Warner: “There was nothing in your notes or memory, so when you had a chance and you did correct the record about the other two sessions in response to Sens. Franken and Leahy, this didn’t pop into your memory with the caution you had to report that this session as well?”
Sessions: “I guess I can say that I possibly had a meeting, but I still do not recall it. I did not in any way fail to record something in my testimony or in my subsequent letter intentionally false.”

11. Sen. Warner: “Again, for the record, there was no other meeting with any other officials of the Russian government in the campaign season?”
Sessions: “Not to my recollection.”

12. Sen. Risch: “On February 14th, The New York Times published an article alleging that there were constant communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians in collusion regarding the elections. Do you recall that article when it came out?”
Sessions: “Not exactly.”
Sen. Risch: “Generally?”
Sessions: “Generally I remember the charges.”

13. Sen. Rubio: “At any point during the campaign, did you have an interaction [with anyone] who in hindsight you look back and say, they tried to gain influence? … Someone who wanted to find out what the campaign was up to?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall it, no.”

14. Sen. Rubio: “You were on the foreign policy team, and the Republican platform was changed to not provide defensive weapons to Ukraine. Were you involved in that decision, and do you know how the change was made?”
Sessions: “I was not active in the platform committee and did not participate in that, and I don’t think I had direct involvement.”

15. Sen. Rubio: “Do you know who did, or [do] you have no recollection of a debate about that issue internally in the campaign?”
Sessions: “I never watched the debate, if it occurred, on the platform committee. I think it did. So I don’t recall that, senator. I’d have to think about that.”

16. Sen. Manchin: “Did you have any discussions at all, have you had any discussions or sat in on any type of meetings or recommendations that were made to remove those [Russian] sanctions?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall any such meeting.”

17. Sen. Manchin: “In the campaign, up and through the transition, was there ever any meetings in which [President Trump] showed any concern or consideration or just inquisitive[ness] of what the Russians were really doing and if they really done it?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall any such conversations. I’m not sure I understood your question. Maybe I better listen again.”

18. Sen. Manchin: “If he would have heard something about Russia, with their capabilities, and our concern about what they could do with our election process – was there eve any conversations about that whatsoever?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall it, Sen. Manchin.”

19. Sen. Manchin: “Are there any other meetings between any Russian government officials and any other Trump campaign associates that have not been previously disclosed that you know of?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall any.”
Sen. Manchin: “To the best of your knowledge, sir, did any of the following individuals meet with Russian officials at any point during the campaign? You can just be yes or no on this. Paul Manafort?”
Sessions: “I don’t have any information that he had done so…”
Sen. Manchin: “Steve Bannon?”
Sessions: “I have no information that he did.”
Sen. Manchin: “General Michael Flynn?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall it.”
Sen. Manchin: “Reince Preibus?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall.”
Sen. Manchin: “Steve Miller?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall him ever having such a conversation.”
Sen. Manchin: “Corey Lewandowski?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall any of those individuals having any meeting with Russian officials.”
Sen. Manchin: “Carter Page?”
Sessions: “I don’t know. … There may have been some published accounts of Mr. Page talking with Russians. I’m not sure. I don’t recall.”

20. Sen. Harris: “Did you have any communications with Russian officials for any reason during the campaign that have not been disclosed in public or to this committee?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall it, but I have to tell you, I cannot testify to what was said as we were standing at the Republican convention before the podium where we spoke.”

21. Sen. Harris: “Are you aware of any communications with other Trump campaign officials and associates that they had with Russian officials or any Russian nationals?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall that – at this moment.”

22. Sen. McCain: “Did you raise concerns about Russia’s support for President Bashar Al Assad and his campaign of indiscriminate violence against his own citizens, including his use of chemical weapons?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall whether that was discussed or not.”

23. McCain: “Did you raise concerns about Russia’s interference in our electoral process or its interference in the electoral processes of our allies?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall that being discussed.”

24. McCain: “In your capacity as the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, what Russia-related security issues did you hold hearings on or otherwise demonstrate a keen interest in?”
Sessions: “We may have discussed that. I just don’t have a real recall of the meeting. I was not making a report about it to anyone. I just was basically willing to meet and see what he discussed.”

25. McCain: “And his response was?”
Sessions: “I don’t recall.” 

In This Article: Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Russia


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