If other interactions had happened, he said, as former F.B.I. director James Comey reportedly testified may have occurred at the Mayflower Hotel past year, he "did not remember it".
Sessions conceded he'd met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak as part of his duties as a US senator - he was also a longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee - but he firmly denied the allegation by former FBI Director James Comey in testimony last week that he had a third, previously undisclosed, meeting when Trump gave his first foreign policy speech during the campaign, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.
"Whether I ever attended a reception where the Russian ambassador also was present was beside the point", an emotional Sessions, contending he went to Mayflower event with no knowledge Kislyak would also be there.
Sessions opened his testimony to the panel with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about "any type of interference" in the 2016 presidential election.
Former FBI Director James Comey raised additional questions at a hearing on Thursday, saying that the FBI expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he actually did.
Here are Attorney General Jeff Sessions opening remarks during his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Sessions said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein prepared a memo on Comey's performance that "noted some serious problems" with his performance.
Finally, during his testimony, Mr. Comey discussed a conversation he and I had about a meeting Mr. Comey had with the President.
Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), has the potential for high drama as the Russian Federation probe continues to dominate USA politics, sidelining President Donald Trump's domestic agenda. Risch was essentially aiding Sessions' case, highlighting a lack of publicly viewable evidence to support allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
Other key questions for Sessions today: Did he know that Trump wanted to remove Comey partly because of how the FBI was conducting the Russiagate investigation (specifically, because the Bureau wouldn't clear Trump)?
Wyden said Monday that Sessions hasn't engaged in anything close to a real recusal. "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller", Sessions told Warner, and he said he didn't see a reason to remove him from the post. Similarly, he did not answer whether Trump had expressed concern to Sessions about the attorney general's March decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.
In March he acknowledged he met twice previous year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. It would interesting to know whether Sessions backs up Comey's account of the scene in other respects. Sessions replied that he "possibly had a meeting, but I still do not recall it".
North Korea poses one of the greatest national security challenges for Trump as it tries to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike America.
Sessions, who refused to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, said any suggestion that he colluded with Moscow was a "detestable lie". "When you're recusing yourself, you are stepping aside, and this sure doesn't look like that", he said. Sessions said he was following Justice Department policy and would not discuss confidential communications with the president.
Sessions had recommended that Comey be fired, and Trump's decision prompted critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.
"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", he said, stressing this was not the case. Comey testified that in the privacy of the Oval Office, the President asked him to let the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn drop. The report said he had been a coma for more than a year, since shortly after his last public appearance at his trial in Pyongyang in March 2016. He says Comey should have talked to Boente, especially if he had concerns about Sessions staying involved in the Russian Federation investigation. But in response to the criticism he recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation. He asked me a rambling question that included dramatic, new allegations that the United States intelligence community had advised President-elect Trump that "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump's surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government". The Justice Department has denied such a meeting occurred.
Lawmakers also asked Rosenstein whether it was appropriate for Sessions to be involved in the firing of Comey given Sessions's recusal from the Clinton email investigation, which he offered because of his role on the Trump campaign.