President Donald Trump and US attorney general Jeff Sessions both supported a proposal during the 2016 campaign that Mr Trump meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin, lawyers for a former campaign adviser said in a court filing late on Friday.
The account of the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, appeared to contradict the prior testimony of Mr Sessions to Congress in November 2017 that he had "pushed back" against the proposal by Mr Papadopoulos at a March 31st, 2016, campaign meeting.
Mr Trump has said he does not remember much of what happened at the “very unimportant” campaign meeting memorialised in a photo that he posted on Instagram of roughly a dozen men sitting around a table, including himself, Mr Sessions and Mr Papadopoulos.
“While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it,” Mr Papadopoulos’s lawyers wrote in the court filing, which argued for leniency ahead of a sentencing hearing next week.
Mr Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts, has been co-operating with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Friday's court filing confirmed reporting in March about the apparent difference between Mr Sessions's testimony and how others recounted his reaction to the proposal at the March 2016 meeting. – Reuters