President Donald Trump called Friday for investigations into House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's links to Russian Federation, sharing articles that appeared to show the Democratic lawmakers in past meetings with Moscow officials.
Putin also came to New York City a few days before where he visited a West Side Manhattan gas station, which is where the photo of Schumer and Putin was snapped.
Attorney General Jeff Sessionsrecused himself Thursday from any Justice Department probe into the Trump campaign following reports that Sessions met with Russia's ambassador to the United States in September when he was a senator.
President Trump lashed out at Schumer in response, calling him a "total hypocrite" and displaying a 2003 photo of Schumer with Russia's president. "Would you &your team?"
Sessions has been threading needles trying to explain his denials, arguing that he didn't discuss Trump's campaign but was only acting in his officials role as a USA senator when he met with the Russian.
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President Trump tweeted that an immediate investigation should be launched into Sen.
"We have heard different statements from President Trump", Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, told reporters.
Sessions said he met with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his official capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Asked about possible Trump campaign contacts with Russian Federation during his January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he had "been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign". Kislyak became Russia's ambassador to the U.S.in 2008. (As a result he recused himself from the investigation.) Just the day prior, Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, called for Sessions resignation. Lukoil is one of Russia's largest oil companies.
During confirmation hearings, Jeff Sessions did not disclose he'd had two meetings with Russia's ambassador in the past year. Trump, 70, a former Democrat, has reportedly donated around $9,000 to the senator over the years and claimed: "I was close to Schumer in many ways".