Jeff Sessions knows 'nothing' about Russian hacking

Elizabeth Williams
June 14, 2017

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, called accusations that the Trump administration has inappropriate links to Russian Federation a "detestable lie".

Though Mr. Sessions said that the president had not invoked executive privilege that would prevent him from talking about such matters, the attorney general indicated that it appeared to be contemplated.

Now, in your prepared statement, you stated you received only "limited information. necessary to inform [your] recusal decision", but given Director Comey's statement, we need to know what that was.

Last week, Comey appeared before the same committee and shared that he and members of the FBI leadership team did not discuss President Donald Trump's alleged request for the FBI director's loyalty as the group believed Sessions would inevitably recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday vehemently rejected the suggestion he colluded with Russian Federation to tilt last year's election in Donald Trump's favor, branding the accusations an "appalling and detestable lie".

In March, Mr Sessions removed himself from any inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the elections.

Tuesday's hearing follows on the heels of former FBI Director James B. Comey's dramatic testimony before the same committee last week, when he raised intrigue by telling lawmakers that FBI officials had expected Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from all Russia-related issues "for a variety of reasons". He later amended the record by revealing he had met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, twice over the course of the 2016 campaign. He also stressed that while "partisan winds are swirling", the committee was dedicated to remaining nonpartisan.

Justice officials have strongly denied that a third meeting occurred between Sessions and Kislyak.

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".

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions told Sen. "I will defend the integrity of that investigation".

Sessions arrived at the Capitol with Washington roiling over reports that Trump was considering removing Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the Russian probe. Sessions exclaimed. "I'm following the historic policies of the Department of Justice".

"I want to ask you point blank", Wyden continued, "why did you sign the letter recommending the firing of Director Comey when it violated your recusal?"

While Ignatius may be recognized on The New York Times' Top 10 list of the year's best books, Alan Furst is hardly a household name.

Asked about reports that Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russian Federation probe, Sessions said, "I don't know about these reports and have no [ability] to ascertain their validity", Sessions said.

Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two meetings past year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions reportedly offered to resign in wake of the president's criticism.

Sessions dodged questions about were whether he had discussed Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's handling of the FBI's Russian Federation probe with Trump before the president fired Comey on May 9.

He says Comey's decision to announce the results of the investigation without Justice Department approval was "a stunning development" because "the FBI is the investigative team".

Echoing previous testimony by other current officials - who have claimed that it is not appropriate for them to discuss conversations with the president, but have denied any claim of executive privilege - Sessions throughout his testimony had declined to answer questions about his interactions with Trump.

Shortly after the meeting, Comey said he confronted Sessions, saying that had become increasingly uneasy about being left alone with Trump.

"Mr. Comey expressed concern about proper communications protocol with the White House and the president", Sessions said.

Other reports by VgToday

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