Sessions jokes about Russian meetings in speech to lawyers

November 17, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reacts to the audience as he arrives to speak at the Federalist Society 2017 National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, about maintaining and strengthening the rule of law. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making light of the grilling he’s received over contacts with Russians.

Sessions opened a speech Friday to the conservative Federalist Society by asking if the former Russian ambassador was in the room. Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling after acknowledging two encounters with the ambassador that he had not previously disclosed.

There have been suggestions Sessions had a third, unreported contact with the ambassador in April 2016, at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel. That’s where Sessions spoke Friday.

“Before I get started here. Any Russians? Anybody been to Russia?”

The crowd roared with laughter.

In testimony to Congress this week, Sessions displayed a hazy memory of the campaign’s dealings with Russians in the election, denying he ever lied about those contacts.

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