A lobbyist working on behalf of Russian interests attended two dinners hosted by then-Senator Jeff Sessions during the peak of the presidential campaign in summer 2016, the lobbyist Richard Burt told The Guardian. His claims appear to contradict Sessions’ recent sworn testimony, in which Sessions said he “[didn’t] believe” he had been in contact with any Russian representative “including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company” during Trump’s presidential campaign.
Burt, an American lobbyist, has recently served on behalf of private equity firm connected with Russia’s Alfa Bank, and previously lobbied for a pipeline company that that was later acquired by a Russian state-run energy company. Burt said he was invited to two dinners hosted by Sessions last summer. Former Republican foreign policy officials were also reportedly in attendance. Burt’s ties to the Trump campaign have previously come under scrutiny. In April, 2016, Trump delivered a speech in Washington D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel, where Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was in attendance. Burt told NPR he was “asked to provide a draft for that speech, and parts of that draft survived into the final [version].”