Politics ESSENTIAL WASHINGTON

Essential Washington

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington.

Watch Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions' opening statement: 'My answers have never changed'

"Lastly, I would like to address the false charges made about my previous testimony. My answers have never changed. I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question as I understood them and to the best of my recollection, as I will continue to do today.

"I would like to address recent news reports regarding meetings during the campaign attended by George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, among others. Frankly, I had no recollection of this until I saw these news reports. 

"I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting. After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter. But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it.

"As for Mr. Page, while I do not challenge his recollection, I have no memory of his presence at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club or any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left.

"All of you have been in a campaign. But most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign. And none of you had a part in the Trump campaign. It was a brilliant campaign in many ways.  But it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled all the time, sometimes to several places in one day.  Sleep was in short supply. 

"And I was still a full-time senator keeping a very full schedule during this time.

"During this year, I have spent close to 20 hours testifying before Congress before today. 

"I have been asked to remember details from a year ago, such as who I saw on what day, in what meeting, and who said what when.

"In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."

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