According to a breaking news report from CNN, Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance.
Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn’t note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list “any contact” he or his family had with a “foreign government” or its “representatives” over the past seven years, officials said.
The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials. He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year.
Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN that Sessions initially disclosed an entire year’s worth of meetings with foreign officials on his application, but she claimed that he was told by an FBI employee that he didn’t need to list meetings with foreign ambassadors that took place while he was a senator.
But according to a legal expert who regularly assists officials in filling out the security clearance form, the Justice Department’s explanation isn’t accurate.
“My interpretation is that a member of Congress would still have to reveal the appropriate foreign government contacts notwithstanding it was on official business,” said Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who specializes in national security law.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore