Congressman Nadler Questions AG Sessions on Previous Testimony Related to Trump-Russia Ties and Possible Obstruction of Justice

Nov 14, 2017 Issues: Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Committee’s Department of Justice oversight hearing about the information in the George Papadopoulos guilty plea and Attorney General Sessions’s earlier testimony that he had no knowledge of any “exchange of information between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”  Rep. Nadler also plans to ask the Attorney General about a potential obstruction of justice with regards to the ongoing investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Below is a copy of Congressman Nadler’s questions, as prepared, for Attorney General Sessions during the House Judiciary Committee’s Department of Justice oversight hearing:

"Attorney General Sessions, thank you for being here. 

"I want to show you an image from March 31, 2016 of a meeting of the Trump campaign National Security Advisory Committee—which you chaired—with yourself in attendance, along with then-candidate Donald Trump, and Mr. George Papadopoulos.

"Mr. Papadopoulos pled guilty on October 5, 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.  His charging papers, filed by Special Counsel Mueller, describe the March 31st meeting where Mr. Papadopoulos told the group that he had “connections” and could help arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.  After the meeting, Mr. Papadopoulos continued to communicate with the Russian government on behalf of the Trump campaign, and appears to have told several senior campaign officials about it.

"Now here is the problem…  On October 18, 2017, you said under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 'a continuing exchange of information between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government . . . did not happen, at least not to my knowledge, and not with me.”  Senator Franken asked, “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?' to which you responded, 'I did not – and I’m not aware of anyone else that did.'

"This is a problem.  We know now that (1) the campaign had communications with the Russians, through Mr. Papadopoulos and others, and (2) you seem to have been aware of this fact at the time.

"So, let’s try and correct your earlier testimony now, for the record:

§  Yes or no:  Did you chair the March 31, 2016 meeting of the Trump campaign National Security Advisory Committee?

§  Yes or no:  Did Mr. Papadopoulos mention his outreach to the Russian government during that meeting?

§  There are reports that you “shut George down” when he proposed that meeting with Putin.  Is this correct, yes or no?

§  Yes or no:  Did anyone else at that meeting—including then-candidate Trump—react in any way to what Mr. Papadopoulos had presented?

"Now, we know from multiple sources—including the Papadopoulos guilty plea, Carter Page’s interview with the intelligence committee, and Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, among other—that contrary to your earlier testimony, there were continued efforts to communicate with the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign. 

"We have established that you knew about at least some of these efforts.  They caused you such concern that you “shut George down.”  I want to know what you did with this information.

§  Yes or no:  After the March 31st meeting, did you take any steps to prevent Trump campaign officials, advisors, or employees from further outreach to the Russians?

▫   Yes or no:  Did you raise the issue with then-candidate Trump? 

▫   Governor Pence, yes or no?

▫   Anybody on the leadership of the campaign, yes or no?

▫   Paul Manafort, yes or no?

▫   Michael Flynn, yes or no?

▫   Stephen Miller, yes or no?

▫   Any other employee or advisor of the campaign, yes or no?

"At some point, you became aware that the FBI was investigating potential links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.  

§  Yes or no:  After you became aware of the investigation, did you ever discuss Mr. Papadopoulos’s efforts with anybody at the FBI?

▫   At the Department of Justice, yes or no?

▫   At the White House, yes or no? 

▫   Any member of Congress, yes or no?

▫   What about anyone who was associated with the Trump campaign, yes or no?

"Former FBI Director James Comey and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, both notified you of their having received inappropriate and highly irregular contact from President Trump. 

§  Yes or no:  Was the fact of those conversations concerning to you?  And did you think it was possibly connected to the ongoing investigations that may implicate the President and/or his associates?