By Tal Kopan, CNN
(CNN) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday told lawmakers that he now remembers a meeting with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, whose work is now a focus of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, but denied having a clear memory of full the conversation.
"I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting," Sessions told the House judiciary committee, answering questions before Congress for the third time since being sworn in.
Sessions previously said he had "no recollection" of the meeting that he chaired that included Papadopoulos until a picture of it surfaced after the staffer's guilty plea for false statements.
"After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter. But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it had I remembered it, because I pushed back against his suggestion."
But Sessions insisted he did not make any false statements in his previous congressional testimony or public statements.
"My answers have not changed," Sessions said. "I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question as I understood them and to the best of my recollection, as I will continue to do today. ... I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie."
It was the former senator's first time before the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the committee had signaled in advance they intended to press the administration's top legal official on a host of issues, not the least of which is the ongoing Russia investigation.
Sessions has faced repeated questions from senators about his role in the campaign and the investigation into Russian meddling in the US election. After his confirmation hearing, it came to light that Sessions had met with Russian officials during the campaign, prompting his recusal from the investigation and leading to the special counsel's appointment. He then faced the Senate intelligence committee about the inconsistencies over the summer.
Last month, he faced the Senate judiciary committee for further questions about his changing story, with Democrats dismayed that Sessions continued to cite executive privilege in refusing to discuss any conversations with President Donald Trump.
Since that hearing, Mueller unsealed a guilty plea from a campaign foreign policy staffer, Papadopoulos, for false statements to the FBI. Sessions supervised the advisory group on which Papadopoulos sat and reportedly rejected his suggestion for Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet.
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