WASHINGTON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a Republican senator, spoke with Russian ambassador twice during Donald Trump's presidential campaign last year, and he didn't reveal it at Senate hearings for his confirmation, U.S. media reported Wednesday.
Sessions spoke on the phone privately with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak from his office in September, said the reports.
Two months before the phone talks, Sessions also met with Kislyak and talked to him informally when attending an event held at conservative think tank Heritage Foundation along with 50 other ambassadors, Sessions' spokeswoman Sara Isgur Flores admitted to local media.
"It was short and informal," the spokeswoman said, adding that as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee at the time, Sessions regularly met foreign ambassadors.
"Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, (South) Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German and Russian ambassadors," Flores said in a statement.
Sessions was not trying to mislead fellow senators when he said during his confirmation hearing that he had not had contacts with Moscow, the spokeswoman said.
During the hearings, when asked what he would do if he learned a member of Trump's campaign had communicated with the Russian government over the course of the 2016 campaign, Sessions responded: "I'm not aware of any of those activities ... I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians."
Officials at the Justice Department said Sessions did not consider his talks with Kislyak relevant to the lawmakers' questions and did not remember their discussion in detail.
The U.S. FBI is probing possible communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials. Sessions was an early Trump supporter and one of his top advisers during the campaign.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Wednesday night that if the FBI determines Trump's campaign illegally coordinated with Russia, Sessions should recuse himself from making the decision whether to pursue prosecutions.
"If there were contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, they may be legitimate; they may be OK. I want to know what happened between the Trump campaign, the Clinton campaign and the Russians," Graham said on CNN.
Meanwhile, Democrat Elijah Cummings, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, called on Sessions to resign immediately.
Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn stepped down last month after it was reported that he had discussed U.S. sanctions with Kislyak in December, and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the details.