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comey day

Jeff Sessions possibly withheld information about a third meeting with the Russian ambassador

The testimony of former FBI Director James Comey raised serious questions about President Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions. On Thursday, Comey told the Senate that the FBI was "aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting" about Sessions "that [would have made] his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic." And in a closed-door session that followed, Comey reportedly told senators that Sessions had a third, previously undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., CNN reports.

During Sessions' confirmation hearing, the then-senator testified that he "did not have communications with the Russians" during Trump's campaign. The Washington Post later reported Sessions had spoken at least twice with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Sessions responded by sending a supplementary letter to the Senate in March, but it made no mention of a third meeting with Kislyak.

"The information [about a third meeting] is based in part on Russian-to-Russian intercepts where the meeting was discussed," people familiar with the information told CNN. "But the sources said it is possible the ambassador … was exaggerating the extent of the encounter."

On Thursday, the Justice Department refuted part of Comey's public testimony, saying Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe was entirely due to a part of the Code of Federal Regulations, which says a Department of Justice attorney "should not participate in investigations that may involve entities or individuals with whom the attorney has a political or personal relationship," with that entity being the Trump campaign.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told CNN: "I can't confirm what may have been provided in a classified setting, but with a third meeting, even without it, what we have is a pattern of contacts with the Russians by [Michael] Flynn, by Sessions, by [Jared] Kushner — secret and then concealed. ... [It] could be perjury."