Jeff Sessions complies with court order on Russia disclosure by releasing completely redacted paper

Trump's attorney general was ordered to release information about contacts with Russians. That's not what happened

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 13, 2017 10:32AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions barely complied with a court order forcing him to reveal an important national security form, but his answer isn't resolving any questions.

On June 12, a judge ordered Sessions to release sections of the Standard Form 86 regarding all communications Sessions has had "with any official of the Russian government," according to a report by NPR. This was in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ethics watchdog group American Oversight.

In response, the Department of Justice only released one page of Standard Form 86, which checks "No" to the question of whether Sessions has had any contact with a foreign government in the last seven years. Much of the rest of the form seems to have been redacted.

"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," executive director Austin Evers said in a statement.

"The court gave DOJ 30 days to produce Attorney General Sessions' security clearance form, DOJ has already confirmed its contents to the press and Sessions has testified about it to Congress, so there is no good reason to withhold this document from the public."

Sessions' stance on the Russia scandal has been ambivalent since the days when he was forced to recuse himself due to the revelation that he had failed to disclose meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Last month he admitted on "Fox and Friends" that he hoped the probe would end "sooner rather than later," although he also defended special counsel Robert Mueller by saying "Mr. Mueller is someone I’ve known for a long time and I’ve had confidence in him over the years. Yes. Well, I feel confident in what he will do, that’s all I can say."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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