Donald Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer has denied fresh allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to the Senate about his communications with Russia.
Speaking on behalf of the President, Mr Spicer dismissed the controversy as “partisan politics” and claimed Mr Sessions was "100 per cent straight with the committee.”
Mr Sessions had two conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the election campaign however, at his confirmation hearing for the Attorney General post he now holds, he told senators he "did not have communications with the Russians".
It came as US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called for his resignation, and for his alleged meetings with the ambassador to be investigated.
Mr Schumer said a special prosecutor should be appointed to conduct a probe into Russian involvement in the presidential election, and "to discover if the investigation has already been compromised" by Mr Sessions' own conduct.
"His integrity and independence have been questioned, it would be better for the country if he resigns," Mr Schumer told a news conference.
However the White House dismissed concerns about Mr Sessions' ability to investigate the Trump administration’s other apparent ties to Russia.
Mr Spicer told Fox News: "There’s nothing to recuse himself."
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores also defended Mr Sessions' denial of Russian contact during his confirmation hearing, saying: "There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”
In a statement on Wednesday night, Mr Sessions said: “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
It comes just weeks after Mr Trump was forced to sack his national security adviser Michael Flynn after he failed to disclose communications with Mr Kislyak during the election campaign.