Democratic politicians in the US have called on Donald Trump’s attorney general to resign after reports that he met with Russia’s ambassador to Washington during last year’s presidential campaign.
The Washington Post reported that Jeff Sessions spoke with Sergey Kislyak twice last year, including a ‘private conversation’ at the then-senator’s office in September.
In a statement quoted by US media, Mr Sessions insisted he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign”.
He added: “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
Mr Sessions was a key early supporter of Donald Trump, and was also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee at the time.
During the attorney general confirmation hearing in January, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota asked Mr Sessions what he would do if there was evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign was in touch with Russia.
Mr Sessions said he was “unaware of those activities,” and added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have, did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said: “There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”
According to the department, Mr Sessions had meetings last year with more than 25 foreign ambassadors in his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and had two separate interactions with the Russian ambassador.
The Washington Post reports that it heard from 20 of the 26 members of the committee, all of whom said they did not meet with Mr Kislyak in 2016.