Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

We’re now well into the middle game and approaching the endgame: Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

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Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller report in the Washington Post:

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. Senator that he met with Kislyak.

“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said in Marchwhen he announced that he would recuse himself from matters relating to the FBI probe of Russian interference in the election and any connections to the Trump campaign.

Current and former U.S. officials said that assertion is at odds with Kislyak’s accounts of conversations during two encounters over the course of the campaign, one in April ahead of Trump’s first major foreign policy speech and another in July on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention.

The apparent discrepancy could pose new problems for Sessions at a time when his position in the administration appears increasingly tenuous. . .

Continue reading.

Of course, Trump will not believe it. He seems to reject all findings from US intelligence agencies, presumably relying instead on what he learns from Putin.

But note, from later in the article:

Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum has an interesting postscript to his interesting post:

POSTSCRIPT: Here’s another thought. In his interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Trump didn’t just gripe about Sessions recusing himself. He also remarked—without being asked—that Sessions had provided some “bad answers” to the Senate during his confirmation hearings. That struck me as an odd thing to say. Is it possible that Trump (a) knew about this intel, (b) knew it was going to get leaked soon, and (c) was deliberately distancing himself from Sessions before it happened?

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2017 at 4:15 pm

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