"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel".
The investigation part of the equation may explain Sessions' admitted ignorance. "I was standing there". He did allow for the possibility that he encountered him in a reception that he said was attended by a couple dozen people, though he said he had no specific recollection of that. Patrick Leahy was not happy about. Welcome to the program.
FRANKEN: Well, actually, that doesn't make any sense. Sessions became attorney general in February but did not recuse himself from that probe until March. They seem to have collective amnesia about meeting with Russian officials during and after the campaign and only remember when they have been caught. And then he didn't answer my question. But under questioning, Sessions acknowledged that Trump's campaign foreign policy advisers "never functioned as a coherent team" and there were members of that group he never met.
And he did, as it turned out.
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts past year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.
"If I don't qualify, it you'll accuse me of lying so I need to be correct as best as I can". So he's not being consistent.
SHAPIRO: Beyond his explanation for that particular remark, were there things you learned from today's hearing that you think could be important to the investigation? "I just was basically willing to meet and see what he discussed".
One of those administration officials, Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, met with members of the Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session, according to the agency. It conceivable that somebody came up to me.
But behind the scenes, there was significant pushback from Democrats - including Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner - who raised objections with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr that Sessions may be trying to skirt public scrutiny. Is there anything more that you can do?