The Justice Department defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions from a CNN report alleging he failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials in his background check before assuming office.
"As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff. In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General's staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities," Justice Department Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior said in a statement Wednesday evening.
A CNN report published Wednesday stated Sessions failed to disclose meeting with Russian officials and other foreign contacts on a security clearance form he filled out while going through the Senate confirmation process.

Sessions was asked to share "any contact" he had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said, according to the report. However, he skipped over two meetings with Russian officials as well as any others that are not yet known.
Sessions did reportedly have a list of a year's worth of meetings, but was told by an FBI employee who helped him fill out the form to remove any meetings he had pertaining to his role as senator.
On March 1, it was revealed Sessions spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on two occasions during the presidential election last year despite testifying before the Senate that he had not had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
As a result of the findings and the ensuing controversy, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. The Justice Department later selected former FBI chief Robert Mueller to handle the probe.