There’s a viral photo showing Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak together on a day Sessions claims the two never met, but the image isn’t quite the smoking gun some are claiming it to be.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s attorney general faced grilling from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee about his alleged meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., back in April 2016. On that day, Donald Trump delivered a foreign policy speech at the swanky D.C. hotel and there were allegations that afterward Sessions met with Kislyak in a meeting that the attorney general failed to report.
Sessions said he had no recollection of speaking with Kislyak at the meeting, but said nothing inappropriate would have been discussed if they had met.
“Certainly I can assure you nothing improper [happened] if I’d had a conversation with him, and it’s conceivable that occurred,” Sessions said (via The Week). “I just don’t remember it.”
But not long after Jeff Sessions denied any knowledge of a meeting with Sergey Kislyak, a picture began making the rounds showing that the two were indeed together on the day of Trump’s speech at the Mayflower Hotel — or so it seemed. The picture, which was taken by Getty Images, listed both Sessions and Kislyak in the photo caption. In the picture, Sessions could be seen speaking with two men who were standing with their backs to the camera.
BTW, this is Jeff Sessions at the Mayflower Hotel with Russian Ambassador Kislyak in the front row on the right. pic.twitter.com/dOUOKlPIKw
— Bryan William Jones (@BWJones) June 13, 2017
Many of those who posted the picture noted that Sessions was speaking to Kislyak, making it seem as if Sessions was purposely lying about not speaking to Kislyak or not remembering the meeting, but in the photo, the Russian ambassador was actually seated several rows away from Sessions. It had long been reported that Kislyak was in attendance for Trump’s foreign policy speech, as were a handful of other foreign dignitaries.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) June 13, 2017
There could be other evidence that the two did indeed meet that day. Senator Al Franken said on MSNBC that there is evidence of a meeting between them, including intercepted communications regarding that meeting. But the viral picture of the two in close vicinity at the Mayflower Hotel does not prove that Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak met on that day, or even spoke.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]