Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. talked about election campaign matters with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reported Friday that Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow about two conversations with Sessions last year before the latter became attorney general.
U.S. spy agencies reportedly intercepted Kislyak’s accounts of his discussions with Sessions, who was then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Current and former U.S. officials told The Post that the communications contradict Sessions’ public assertions about the meetings.
Sessions has repeatedly vowed he never talked about campaign-related topics with Russian officials, and that he only met Kislyak while serving as a GOP senator for Alabama.
Some Twitter users on Friday slammed The Post’s report, questioning the validity of the newspaper’s story.
Other people on the social media platform voiced alarm over Sessions’ reported conversations with Kislyak.
Trump & his pal Jeff Sessions conspired with Russia to steal the election. 1/— Purify💬 (@Purify_toast17) July 21, 2017
U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly routinely monitor the communications of senior Russian officials like Kislyak in both America and Russia.
Kislyak’s conversations reportedly mention one meeting in April before Trump’s first major foreign policy speech.
The other talk purportedly happened in July on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention.
U.S. officials with regular access to Russian intelligence reports told The Post that Kislyak is known for accurately recounting his interactions with American officials.
The Post reported that Russian diplomats have been known to sometimes report false or misleading information to boost their personal standing or confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.
Sessions announced in March that he would recuse himself from the FBI probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
“I never had any meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” he said.
The FBI’s investigation reportedly includes possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s election campaign.
Now-President Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt” against him and his administration officials.