Sessions Senate testimony to be public

Lauren Perry
June 13, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing for sharp questions from his former Senate colleagues about his role in the firing of James Comey, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to recuse himself from an investigation into possible ties between Moscow and associates of President Donald Trump.

The former Republican senator took over the Justice Department with a tough-on-crime agenda that included quashing illegal immigration, rooting out drug gangs and leading the charge in helping cities fight spikes in violence.

There had been some question as to whether the hearing would be open to the public, but the Justice Department said Monday he requested it be so because he "believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him".

Because of Comey's testimony, Sessions says he wants to talk to the same committee Comey did.

"I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in", Sessions said at the Justice Department on the day he announced his decision.

While Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill, President Trump will be visiting Wisconsin to mark the start of Workforce Development Week.

His staffers have since acknowledged that he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. "When you're recusing yourself, you are stepping aside and this sure doesn't look like it", Wyden said, referring to Sessions' involvement in the firing letters to Comey.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe the next day. "If they do not come to any agreement, of course the matter could be litigated".

Last week, Comey raised additional questions about Sessions' involvement, saying the FBI knew of reasons why it would be problematic for the attorney general to stay involved in the Russian Federation investigation well before Sessions recused himself in March. Trump cited the Justice Department leaders' recommendation in his now-famous note to Comey concluding that "you are not able to effectively lead" the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sessions played a role in Comey's firing because of his leadership, not Russian Federation.

"I urge that the committee hold a hearing with the attorney general in the open", Sen.

Back here in Washington, the long-awaited testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey may be over, but the reverberations are certainly not. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the intelligence committee, referring to the existence of any recordings.

The attorney general could also face questions about whether he met Mr. Kislyak on a third occasion. "The president then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me".

Senators are expected to hone in on Comey's recounting of a February 14 White House meeting where Trump pressed the director to drop the FBI's inquiry into national security adviser Michael Flynn. If so, had the president asked him beforehand in some other time or place? Comey implored Sessions never to leave him alone again with the president, but Sessions did not reply. Sessions wants to respond to some of the questions Comey raised about his conduct. If he confirms there was a meeting at which he and Kushner were asked to leave, it could bolster Comey's account. The White House has denied any collusion.

Comey said Trump "sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk".

However, Sessions could invoke executive privilege during his testimony depending on "the scope of the questions", the White House suggested on Monday.

The high stakes of Tuesday's hearing prompted speculation that Sessions would protect his private conversations with Trump by declaring executive privilege.

As attorney general, Sessions has quickly worked to undo Obama-era policies.

California Sen. Kamala Harris asked Comey for more detail about this scene when he appeared last week.

"Is it fair to put that to rest?" she asked.

"I don't remember real clearly", Comey answered. "You swore an oath".

Other reports by VgToday

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