WASHINGTON -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions angrily denounced accusations that he had intentionally misled members of Congress about any Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
"Mr. Jeffries, nobody, not you or anyone else, should be prosecuted ... nor accused of perjury for answering the questions the way I did in that hearing," Sessions said after Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, reminded him that he had once bragged of prosecuting a police officer for making false statements that he later corrected.
Sessions said that when former Trump campaign aide Carter Page mentioned that he was traveling to Russia, "I made no response to it."
When a second aide, George Papadopoulos, suggested that the campaign meet with Russians, he "pushed back," Sessions said -- the second time in the hearing that he made that assertion.
"I don't think it's right to accuse me of doing something wrong," he said.
Sessions had not mentioned either of those conversations in earlier Senate hearings but said news reports triggered memories of them.
Jeffries noted that Sessions had set a tough standard on false statements in the past -- voting to remove then-President Bill Clinton from office after he was impeached on charges of perjury in the 1990s. During that time period, Jeffries said, Sessions spoke of his earlier prosecution of a police officer on the same charge.
The congressman also reminded Sessions that he had suggested to Fox anchor Lou Dobbs that Hillary Clinton was guilty of perjury when, in a conversation with the FBI about her email server, she said that she did not recall the answers to some questions.
Sessions insisted that he had not changed his testimony but had "added things I did not recall at the time. My statement at the time was my best recollection of the circumstances."
Sessions also mocked the idea that in talking about Russia with campaign aides such as Page, he was somehow colluding with a foreign nation.
"Does that establish some sort of improper contact with Russians? He's not Russian, you know," Sessions said.
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