Jeff Sessions has insisted his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign had nothing to do with the campaign—but the ambassador is saying otherwise. Sergey Kislyak told his superiors that during two conversations with Sessions, who was a senator at the time and also serving as a foreign policy adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, the men discussed issues relating to the campaign, current and former US officials tell the Washington Post. Kislyak's descriptions of the conversations were intercepted by US intelligence agencies, and the officials who spoke to the Post acknowledged that it's not clear how reliable Kislyak's accounts of the conversations are, but that he is known for relaying accurate information to the Kremlin.
One former official says Sessions—who, as attorney general, recused himself from the probe of Russian interference into the US election after initially failing to disclose his meetings with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing—appears to have had "substantive" discussions with Kislyak regarding Trump's positions on issues of consequence to Russia. Another official says that based on the information from Kislyak, Sessions has apparently given "misleading" information about what they discussed that is "contradicted by other evidence." A Justice Department spokesperson responded by again stating that Sessions never discussed interference in the election with the ambassador. Experts tell the Atlantic the new information could make Sessions himself a subject of the Russia probe. (Read more Jeff Sessions stories.)