It's Jeff Sessions' turn in the hot seat

Lauren Perry
June 13, 2017

But there are also questions about meetings that Sessions had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, who has emerged as a key figure in the question of whether any Trump associates had ties to Russian officials. It was later revealed that he met with Kislyak on at least two occasions - encounters that Sessions differentiated by portraying them as coming in the course of his duties as a senator, not within his role in the Trump campaign.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on.

Sessions, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, wrote a letter to Trump on May 9 recommending he fire Comey.

Last week, Mr. Comey seemed to suggest there was more to it.

"My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving, which is why he was lingering", Comey said last week.

On Tuesday, Sessions will have the chance to give his own answer in person - or explain to senators what other conversations he and Trump may have had on this subject about which Comey might not have been aware.

Sessions has recused himself from the federal investigations into possible Russian interference in the election after reports that he had spoken twice a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the US. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

"As NPR's Carrie Johnson recently reported on All Things Considered: "[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling.

Later, Comey said he was so uncomfortable that he went to Sessions to "implore" him "to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me".

5. Why was Sessions involved in the firing of Comey if he had stepped aside from the Russian Federation probe?

Comey testified that Sessions left the Oval Office on February 14, leaving Comey alone with Trump.

While several committee members, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) had voiced support for a public hearing, other members have complained that doing so will inevitably lead to a brick wall, where Sessions will say he can not discuss certain matters in public. Feinstein said she was especially concerned after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers refused to answer questions from the intelligence committee about possible undue influence by Trump. Citing sources familiar with the attorney general's thinking, Axios reports Sessions will say he was at an event at the Mayflower but doesn't recall any interaction with Kislyak and didn't peel off for a private meeting.

The tool covers discussions with the president, Bahar noted, and could be used to protect discussions of Comey's firing and questions about the President's request to Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

Sessions initially was scheduled to appear at a hearing about the Justice Department's budget on Tuesday morning. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said.

Mr Sessions is likely to be questioned over the truthfulness of his answers in January.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer didn't address questions about potential recordings on Monday.

The president and aides noted that Comey testified that he told Trump three times he was not personally under investigation over Russian contacts.

"I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible", Trump tweeted over the weekend. "I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document", the ex-FBI director testified.

Other reports by VgToday

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