The Justice Department has reportedly missed a court-ordered deadline to release parts of Jeff Sessions’ form to obtain security clearances dealing with contacts with Russian officials.
In response to a lawsuit by a Washington-based watchdog group, a federal judge said on June 12 the department had to provide the information within 30 days. That deadline passed on Wednesday.
Jeff Sessions’ disclosure form detailing the attorney general’s contacts with foreign governments was submitted Thursday morning, NPR reported.
In the filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department released the part of Sessions’ security clearance form that asks, “Have you or any of your immediate family in the past seven (7) years [bold font in original] had any contact with a foreign government, its establishment (such as embassy, consulate, agency, military service, intelligence or security service, etc.) or its representatives, whether inside or outside the U.S.?"
Sessions answered, “No.”
The form confirms what the public already knows: Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearances.
Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year. He did not note those meetings on his form or in his Senate confirmation hearing.
The ethics watchdog group, American Oversight, filed a Freedom of Information Act request into Session’s Russian contacts in March. The organization filed suit against the government a month later when it wasn’t provided the documents, The Hill reported.
"Jeff Sessions is our nation's top law enforcement officer, and it is shocking one of his first acts after being named Attorney General was to mislead his own agency about a matter of national security," the group's executive director, Austin Evers, said in a statement to NPR.
Sessions has since admitted to speaking with Kislyak but said any rumor that he had participated in any collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election “is an appalling and detestable lie.”
In a May statement, the Justice Department said an FBI agent handling the background check instructed Sessions not to list meetings with foreign officials or their staff connected to his Senate duties.