Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, faced scrutiny on Thursday after tweeting she had not met with Russian officials during the past 10 years — a statement that was contradicted by a tweet she wrote in January 2013 indicating that she was meeting with the Russian ambassador.
McCaskill’s tweet was in response to reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the 2016 campaign. Sessions had said during his confirmation hearing that he “did not have communications with the Russians” while he served as a campaign surrogate for Donald Trump.
In her tweet, McCaskill said she never met or had a phone call “ever” with the Russian ambassador during her 10 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Tweet Embed: https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/837272862432104448 I’ve been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years.No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign Rel Com.
But tweets quickly unearthed contradicted her claim:
Tweet Embed: https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/296640293229457409 Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador. Upset about the arbitrary/cruel decision to end all US adoptions,even those in process.Tweet Embed: https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/629258099942105088 Today calls with British, Russian, and German Ambassadors re: Iran deal. #doingmyhomework
McCaskill’s apparently contradictory tweets raise questions about how frequently and under what circumstances lawmakers meet with foreign ambassadors.
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Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee questions a witness in Washington July 17, 2014. The chief executive of Delphi Automotive, the auto supplier that supplied the defective switch to General Motors Co that has been linked to at least 13 deaths, said on Thursday that the automaker was responsible for approving the faulty part design. So far, GM has attributed 13 deaths and 54 crashes to the specific defect, in which the ignition switch can slip from the “run” to the “accessory” position, causing the engine to stall, air bags to not deploy, and a loss of power brakes and power steering. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER CRIME LAW POLITICS)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (bottom L) attends a meeting at the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis, Missouri August 20, 2014. In attendance were (clockwise from top L) Richard Callahan, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Molly Moran, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo), and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo). Holder met with community members in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday and vowed a thorough civil rights probe into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager that has set off 11 nights of racially charged unrest. REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) speaks about pending legislation regarding sexual assaults in the military at a Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CRIME LAW)
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Michelle Obama (L), wife of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, sits with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) prior to the start of a townhall-style presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee October 7, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a fundraising dinner for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in St. Louis, Missouri, March 10, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) addresses a question during a “Health Care Listening Forum” at the UMKC campus in Kansas City, Missouri, August 24, 2009. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES HEALTH POLITICS)
Women U.S. Senators pose together for a television special in the Capitol in Washington January 16, 2007. From left are Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Dole (R-SC), Patty Murray (D-WA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES)
Claire McCaskill (C), Democratic candidate for U.S. State Senate in Missouri, speaks during her acceptance speech after defeating Senator Jim Talent in St. Louis, Missouri, November 7, 2006. REUTERS/Peter Newcomb (UNITED STATES)
Missouri Senate candidate Democrat Claire McCaskill (L) talks to campaign workers while her husband, Joseph Shepard (C), listens on election day in Kansas City, Missouri November 7, 2006. She is running an extremely tight race against incumbent Senator Jim Talent (R-MO). REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)
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McCaskill later tweeted a response, noting that she has never met “one on one” with the Russian ambassador in her capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Again, As senior member of Armed Serv, never received call or request from Russian Amb for meeting. Never met one on one w/him.
4 years ago went to meeting of many Senators about international adoptions. Russian Amb also attended.
McCaskill emphasized this distinction to reporters, noting that she had met with the ambassador about adoptions and “it didn’t have anything to do with Armed Services.”
“The Russian ambassador has never called me as a member of the Armed Services Committee, he’s never asked for a meeting with me, and I’ve never met with him one-on-one,” McCaskill said.
Democratic lawmakers demanded that Sessions resign from his position as attorney general, accusing him of lying to Congress and thus perjuring himself.
Republican leaders, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who leads the House Oversight Committee, also called for Sessions to recuse himself from overseeing an investigation into President Donald Trump and his administration’s ties to the Russian government.
Sessions denied the accusations and slapped away suggestions that he should recuse himself from the investigation or resign from office.
“I have never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” Sessions said in a statement on Wednesday night. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
Bryan Logan contributed to this report.
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