Once again, senators try to cut off Kamala Harris

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

Testifying at a packed Senate hearing, Sessions, who was a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, also rejected any idea of misconduct in the ouster of FBI Director James Comey and vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May wrote a memorandum to President Donald Trump recommending Comey's dismissal.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told Sessions, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling".

SESSIONS: I don't recall that being discussed.

Much of Tuesday's testimony centered on why Trump made a decision to fire Comey - the official Department of Justice version is at odds with the president's televised explanation - but Sessions refused to describe his conversations with Trump on the issue.

This was among the many times Sessions attempted to explain that he is protecting the President's right to choose to invoke executive privilege in not sharing the details of conversations. These senators howled in protest. "You are impeding this investigation...." Martin Heinrich (D-NM) exclaimed. But Democrats on the Senate panel are likely to press him on issues such as his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.

In between this tussling, there were a few interesting moments.

Sen. Mark Warner, D., Va., asked the attorney general if he had confidence in former FBI Director Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to probe whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation. When Sessions declined to say directly whether Comey was sacked because of the Russian investigation, she asked the attorney general why wouldn't discuss the reasons behind the firing. But there was something of a shocking exchange that came toward the end of the hearing.

"I thought he should have resigned after his being caught in not being forthcoming with the truth in his confirmation hearings", said Booker.

Sessions said during his hearing he is not sure if he would be able to answer the questions in a closed session. "Maybe I better listen again". He also explained that he recused himself not because of any involvement with Russian Federation but because of a rule in the law that keeps campaign officials from participating into investigations into their campaign. At these meetings, did you raise concerns about Russia's invasion of Ukraine or annexation of Crimea? "Was there ever any conversations concerning that whatsoever?" This was a damning admission from Sessions. In response to a King question about whether Sessions had sought information on the Russian Federation secret operation to undermine the election, Sessions remarked, "I know nothing but what I've read in the paper. I've never received any detailed briefing on how a hacking occurred or how information was alleged to have influenced the campaign". But Sessions said he had no recollection of that.

The chief law enforcement officer of the United States was never briefed on Russia's hacking of one of its major political parties, or any other efforts by Russian Federation to mess with the elections - past and future. King, I know nothing but what I've read in the paper.

Comey testified last week that as of February 14, he still believed Sessions had not recused himself - but that he nearly certainly would.

If he does so, it will amount to an "all in" moment for the attorney general, because he already once had to clarify sworn testimony in which he said he didn't meet with Russians during the campaign.

Other reports by VgToday

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