Said he had no contact with the Russians during the campaign.
Now WaPo is reporting he met with the Russian ambassador at the GOP convention and then later in September. As a member of the Senate armed services committee this might have been legitimate. But lying under oath at his confirmation - no way.
The first one might be problematic, but the second one has a get-out-of-jail-free card:
“Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote.
Emphasis added. He can simply claim the meeting(s) had nothing to do with the 2016 campaign.
Sessions’ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said there was nothing “misleading about his answer” to Congress because the Alabama Republican “was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign – not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”
He wasn’t wearing his surrogate hat. He was wearing his Armed Services Committee hat. Number of members of the Armed Services Committee other than Sessions who met with Russian Ambassadors last year? Zero.
Also, this explanation is almost as bad as Clinton’s “definition of ‘is’” explanation
Unless Sessions is claiming that the wearing of differing hats triggers entirely different personalities within his body, he has no defense. He plainly said “I did not have communications with the Russians.”
He lied. Unless he has multiple personality disorder.
And I don’t think he’s claiming to have multiple personality disorder. So: he lied.
But his answer was in response to a question about the campaign, so I suspect he’s now saying that the context of his response was “I, as a surrogate for the campaign, did not have communications with Russians.”
That’s pretty hinky, of course. But it’s likely enough to dodge a criminal charge of perjury.