Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that he has “always told the truth” in describing his knowledge of Trump campaign contacts with Russians, although he acknowledged that he now recalls an interaction with a lower-level adviser to Donald Trump who said he told Sessions about contacts who could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

When asked previously about whether he thought that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians, Sessions said, “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened.”

Now, speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, Sessions said he recalled a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos, one of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisers. Papadopoulos, in pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents, has admitted that he told Trump and other campaign officials, including Sessions, that he had contacts who could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.

“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 at that meeting,” Sessions said. “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 I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper.”

Sessions clarified later that he recalled Papadopoulos making “some comment” about a Trump-Putin meeting, and he “pushed back.”

Also at Tuesday’s hearing, Sessions said the Justice Department would need a “factual basis” to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a host of GOP concerns — and he rejected the suggestion by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that such a basis already existed.

Republicans have pressed Sessions to launch probes on a variety of matters — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and on Monday, the Justice Department sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) saying that Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of them. They were to report back to him and his top deputy on whether any necessitated the appointment of a second special counsel.

Jordan said he appreciated Sessions was considering appointing such a person, but asked, “What’s it gonna take to get a special counsel?” Near the end of a testy exchange, Sessions said, “‘Looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

This story previously reported that Sessions said, “Looks like there’s not enough basis to appoint a special counsel” — though the Justice Department later clarified, and the tape shows, that was not what he said.

“The Attorney General was clarifying the legal basis for appointing special counsel — not passing judgment on whether it applied in any specific investigation,” Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said.

READ MORE:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-likely-to-be-questioned-about-trump-campaign-dealings-with-russians-at-house-judiciary-hearing/2017/11/13/bc20b7fc-c894-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_sessions-804am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.076cbaa6c4fc

SOURCE: WASHINGTONPOST