The Department of Justice issued a prompt response to CNN’s Wednesday accusation of impropriety against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
CNN used the two already reported meetings between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyac as the basis for a news story on the Attorney General.
Sessions did not mention the meetings, which took place as part of Sessions’ official duties as a United States Senator, on his SF-86, the disclosure form for those applying for “top secret” clearance. This fact was, by CNN’s own account, freely volunteered by the Justice Department.
DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN that Sessions did not list any of the dozens of ambassadors he met over years of being a senator.
Shortly after CNN ran their story, which quoted a Washington attorney who claimed that he would advise a client to disclose all official meetings, the Justice Department issued a press release firing back at the implication of wrongdoing.
Attributed to DOJ Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior, the response read:
As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds—if not thousands—of foreign dignitaries and their staff. In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.
CNN concluded its piece with a quote by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calling for Sessions to resign.