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Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly denied accusations that he’s ever lied to Congress.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended himself fiercely Tuesday from any suggestion that he has lied in his testimony before Congress about his knowledge of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

“I will not accept — and reject — accusations that I have ever lied,” Sessions testified under oath before the House Judiciary Committee. “That is a lie.”

Sessions added: “I have at all time conducted myself honorably … I’ve always told the truth.”

Sessions’ testimony at the House hearing was his first appearance before Congress since two former Trump campaign advisers testified that they told Sessions about their contacts with Russia. Those revelations — from former advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page — appeared to contradict previous testimony that Sessions gave to the Senate.

Sessions said Tuesday that he did not recall talking to Page last year about Page’s planned trip to Moscow and only remembered meeting with Papadopoulos after reading about the March 2016 meeting in news reports. He said he made it clear to Papadopoulos that his suggestion that he arrange a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials “may have been improper.”

On Oct. 18, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no knowledge of any contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians with ties to the Kremlin.

“I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did,” Sessions told the Senate panel. “I don’t believe that happened.”

However, Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading a criminal investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, later unsealed documents revealing that Papadopoulos admitted to the FBI he attended a national security meeting in March 2016 with then-candidate Donald Trump, Sessions and other advisers. 

At that meeting, which Sessions chaired, Papadopoulos told the group he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. No such meeting ever took place, Trump campaign officials have said.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to making false statements and “material omissions” to…