Dining With the Enemy: Russian Lobbyist Guest of Attorney General

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Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions

The Guardian found that Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had an interesting dinner guest: a Washington lobbyist for Russia interests, twice. The lobbyist was behind one of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s most important foreign policy speeches.

Russia’s Lobbyist Admits Having Dinner with Sessions

The guest attended said dinners on the campaign trail, The Guardian said. The new revelations contradict the AG’s sworn testimony he delivered this week when he denied under oath having any connections with lobbyists working for Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Richard Burt, who served as the German envoy to the U.S. and has lobbied on behalf of Russia, admitted in an interview with The Guardian that he interacted with Sessions on the campaign trail.

 I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,

The former diplomat said.

When journalists asked him whether Sessions had known that Burt was a registered lobbyist for Russia, Burt replied that he didn’t know. According to multiple press reports, the lobbyist helped the then-GOP presidential nominee to draft his first major speech on foreign policy. The work enabled him to collaborate with Sessions directly.

It is worth noting that Burt provided counseling to Alfa Capital Partners, a private equity fund which received money from a Russian bank. In 2016, they lobbied on behalf of a pipeline firm that was bought by the Russian energy giant Gazprom in the meantime.

Sessions Denies Everything

Last fall, Burt said in an interview with Politico that Sessions invited him to two dinners last summer. Trump’s associates, Sessions included, denied the encounters. At the time, Sessions was serving as the head of the Trump campaign’s national security committee. He reportedly invited the lobbyist to dinner to discuss foreign policy and national security matters.

When Sen. John McCain (R-Az) asked Sessions Tuesday if he ever had contacts with Russian representatives including U.S. lobbyists working for Russia’s interests on the campaign trail, the Attorney General said no.

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