Attorney General Sessions Testifying in Russia Probe Hearing

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

The nation's top law enforcement officer insisted Tuesday that he was "not stonewalling" by declining to answer some questions involving "confidential communications" with President Trump, and any suggestion he colluded with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election was "an appalling and detestable lie". Consequently, he recused himself from any investigations into Russian Federation in March.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., jointly announced that Sessions would testify on new developments Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET "in open session". And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge.

Sessions, the former Senator from Alabama, said Russian interference with America's democratic processes can never be tolerated.

Sessions had been scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee to review funding for the Justice Department, which he heads. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the justification for Comey's firing - his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation - and Sessions wrote the memo recommending Comey's ouster to Mr. Trump.

In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.

A week after being cut off by Republicans while questioning Trump administration officials, Democratic Sen.

Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET, has the potential for high drama as the Russian Federation probe continues to dominate US politics, sidelining President Donald Trump's domestic agenda.

It it appeared as though Sessions had consulted with a legal team - at the Department of Justice or the White House Counsel's Office - and burning that much time at the hearing without revealing any private conversations with the president had to be viewed as a victory.

Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two encounters previous year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation early a year ago to review the possible third meeting with Kislyak. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked whether Trump had expressed any frustration with Sessions about his decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again.

"I think it depends on the scope of the questions", Spicer said.

As news of his testimony broke, Sessions attended a Cabinet meeting with Trump at the White House.

He also said it would be inappropriate for him to get involved - given that he has recused himself from Russia-election-related matters.

"As such", he said, "I have no knowledge about this investigation, as it is ongoing today, beyond what has been publicly reported". "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.

Russian Federation has denied interfering in the USA election. The president said he is willing to testify under oath on these points.

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".

"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me", he noted. "Totally illegal? Very 'cowardly!'"

Other reports by VgToday

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