Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be in hot water again for his unique ability to fail to remember the truth while under oath. Reuters is reporting that three people are contradicting Sessions’ testimony that he “pushed back” against a proposal by campaign adviser George Papadopoulos for members of Donald Trump’s team to meet with Russians.
“Yes, I pushed back,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 14. But three people who attended the March 2016 meeting where Sessions claimed to have “pushed back” say that Sessions never objected to Papadopoulos’ idea. And they have shared their recollections of events with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Another person who attended the meeting, however, has publicly said that Sessions strongly objected to the proposal and he is standing by his previous words.
If the accounts are confirmed it would mark the second time Sessions failed to be fully honest while under oath about Russia contacts during Trump’s presidential campaign. At a confirmation hearing he told senators he didn’t have contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign. But then reports came out that Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador to the United States twice. Shortly after that was reported, Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Despite the discrepancies though it seems unlikely Sessions could be held liable for the contradictions. Experts say that Sessions’ words are vague enough that a perjury case would be difficult if not impossible. After all, there could be different interpretations of what pushing back really means. But others say the pattern could be key. “Proving there was intent to lie is a heavy burden for the prosecution. But now you have multiple places where Sessions has arguably made false statements,” said Bennett Gershman, a Pace University law professor.