Former FBI Director James Comey told senators Thursday in a classified hearing that Attorney General Jeff Sessions might have had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak a third time during the presidential election, according to news reports.
"The information is based in part on Russian-to-Russian intercepts where the meeting was discussed," CNN reports, citing "three sources familiar with the information."
"But the sources said it is possible the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, was exaggerating the extent of the encounter," according to the report.
Sessions, the former Alabama Republican senator, came under attack after news reports in February that he did not disclose during his Senate confirmation hearing two meetings he had with Kislyak last year.
He was a campaign surrogate for President Donald Trump at the time and was the first sitting GOP senator to endorse his run.
In March, Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the November election.
Sessions has admitted that he had met with Kislyak as a U.S. senator – and that those two meetings were the only ones with the ambassador during the campaign, according to news reports.
In the public portion of his testimony Thursday, Comey said that the FBI expected Sessions to recuse himself because of factors "that would make his continued involvement in a Russia investigation problematic."
Comey, however, would not disclose what the factors were.
The Justice Department has insisted that the Sessions recusal was solely because of his role in the Trump campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who took over the Moscow probe after Sessions stepped aside, named former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head the investigation.
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