Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened his blockbuster hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday with a fiery statement denying any wrongdoing related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Sessions additionally denied any meeting with Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. It was reported previously that Sessions met in secret with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, at that hotel when President Donald Trump gave a foreign-policy speech during the campaign.
Last week, former FBI Director James Comey told the committee in a closed session that there may have been a third meeting between Sessions and Russian officials during the election. Sessions had not spoken about such a meeting publicly. He recused himself from any investigations that could involve the Trump campaign after the first meetings were revealed.
"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel," Sessions said in his opening statement. "I did not attend any meetings at that event. Prior to the speech, I attended a reception with my staff that included at least two dozen people and President Trump. Though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials.
"If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it," he continued. "After the speech, I was interviewed by the news media, which had gathered as I remember in a different room, and then I left the hotel."