Jeff Sessions Testifies He Never Discussed Election With Russians

Owen Stevens
June 14, 2017

During his testimony, the Attorney General was asked if he had been given some of the details about the "active measures" used by Russian Federation to interfere in the USA elections - his answer was, no, as Sessions said he had stayed away from anything to do with the matter, to honor his recusal as Attorney General. To his boss? To his former Senate colleagues?

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". Despite that recusal, he was involved in Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the Russian Federation probe.

"I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference, with any campaign or election in the United States", Sessions testified.

Harris: Mr. Sessions, I asked for a yes or no.

Sessions testified that he met with a "senior ethics official" at the Department of Justice the day after he was sworn in as attorney general. That position was similar to the one taken at a separate hearing last week by the country's intelligence chiefs.

"Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign", Sessions said.

Before he became attorney general, Sessions served two decades as a Republican senator from Alabama. But many Democrats have accused Sessions of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee during his January confirmation hearing.

He denied allegations Tuesday that he perjured himself with that statement. Sessions' involvement raised important questions on his judgement and ethics, she said.

Earlier in the hearing on Tuesday, Sessions denied that assertion, saying he did not recall meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, where Trump gave a foreign-policy speech past year.

He was being asked about Comey's testimony. Comey told the intelligence committee that, after an encounter with President Trump in which he said Trump pressured him to back off an investigation into the former national security adviser, Comey implored Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with the president again - but Sessions didn't respond.

When Wyden accused him of not answering the questions about Comey's reported remark that his behavior after recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe was "problematic", Sessions chuckled and then launched into his most theatrical defense of his actions.

Sessions frustrated some committee members by refusing to answer questions about the president: Had Trump complained about his recusing himself, as reported in the press?

Trump's decision to fire Comey, a move recommended by Sessions despite having already recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, prompted critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

Now, I don't know if that's the case, because he wouldn't answer, but as it goes to the very heart of whether the president sought to interfere or obstruct the Russian Federation investigation, we need to use whatever compulsory process is necessary to get those answers. Maybe most prominent is the Democrats' insistence that those testifying share conversations they've had with President Trump.

Sessions said he agreed with a letter drafted by his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, that Comey should be replaced. The regulation, 28 CFR 45.2, notes that an employee of the Department of Justice shall not participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with an elected official. There is a special counsel investigation. Trump only brought it up in a interview a few days later.

"That would be a partisan fire fight if they were to fire Mueller", said Leahy. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said.

Other reports by VgToday

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