An American lobbyist who has worked on behalf of Russian interests has contradicted a key part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate testimony this week.
The Guardian reports that Richard Burt, who served as ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration and who has lobbied on behalf of a pipeline company that’s now controlled by Russian state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom, has admitted to attending two dinners organized by Sessions last year during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt told the Guardian.
This is notable, writes the Guardian, because “Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign.”
Additionally, Burt last year reportedly had input into a key foreign policy speech that Trump delivered at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. — which was where intelligence officials suspect Sessions might have had a third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
News of Burt’s attendance at dinners organized by Sessions was first reported last October by Politico, although this report didn’t gain significant traction until this week when Sessions testified that he didn’t recall any contacts with lobbyists who worked on behalf of Russian interests last year.