Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he was never briefed on Russia probe

Owen Stevens
June 14, 2017

Rosenstein told the panel he had seen no evidence of good cause for letting Mueller go, and that lacking such evidence he would not follow any theoretical order to fire him.Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said in the hearing she was disturbed by the reports on the possible firing of Mueller, saying that to dismiss him "would be catastrophic".

"You said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth", Heinrich told Sessions. The Attorney General made it clear that the Trump administration is not prioritizing Russian election interference.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR aggressively asked Sessions about suggestions arising from Comey's testimony last week that there was something "problematic" about his recusal.

"Declining to answer questions at a congressional hearing about confidential conversations with the President is long-standing executive-branch-wide practice", the official said.

"As far as I'm concerned, yes", Rosenstein replied. "I felt I was required to under the rules of the Department of Justice".

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet". Sessions: "Appears so." King: "But you never asked about it?" "I am protecting the right of the president to assert [executive privilege] as he chooses", Sessions answered, adding that he thought discussing those conversations was not appropriate.

"I'm not claiming executive privilege, because that's the President's power", Sessions told Sen. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about his two meetings with Kislyak.

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings.

"Sessions is completely out of step with the American people, and this request shows a blatant disregard for the hundreds of thousands of patients who rely on these programs for treatment", Blumenauer said in a statement Tuesday.

"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.

In his confirmation hearing, Sessions testified that he did not have "communications" with the Russians during the presidential campaign.

Even before Sessions testified, attention in Washington swiveled to whether Trump might seek to fire Robert Mueller, named last month by the Justice Department to head a federal probe into the Russian Federation issue. Sessions said he believed it was. Mr Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Mr Comey.

During the senate hearing, he acknowledged having two previously disclosed meetings with Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the US.

The former Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, one of Trump's most avid supporters on the campaign trail, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January he had no dealings with Kremlin officials past year.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation weeks later.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation. Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

This will be the first time Sessions has testified in Congress since he recused himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in last year's election and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Other reports by VgToday

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