President says Sessions did 'very good job,' comments on Mueller rumors

Elizabeth Williams
June 14, 2017

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

"Not one thing happened that was improper" in his two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign, said Sessions, who was then an Alabama senator and a close Trump advisor. Though I do recall several conversations that I had during that free speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials.

"I am not stonewalling", he said.

After his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions was skewered for saying, "I did not have communications with the Russians". Al Franken, D-Minn., after many hours of testimony.

He also said that since his recusal, "I have no knowledge about this investigation" beyond media reports.

"I do not have confidence in him as Attorney General but I think what I especially don't have confidence in him being there and possibly meddling in the investigation of the involvement of Russian Federation", said Leahy.

The attorney general also said he couldn't confirm or deny private talks he had with Trump regarding Comey's firing.

At one point, Sen.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions told Sen.

"There is no legally binding basis for refusing to answer questions unrelated to an ongoing investigation unless the President is invoking executive privilege", William Yeomans, a 26-year veteran of the Justice Department and fellow at American University Law School, told CNN."That privilege is not absolute - it can be overcome by a sufficient interest". The Justice Department has denied such a meeting occurred.

Mr Sessions largely confirmed a key portion of Mr Comey's description of a February meeting at the White House, at which the attorney general and Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner left the Oval Office so the president and Mr Comey could speak alone.

Sessions was asked by Sen. There are none, Sen. Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser. But he angrily denounced such claims as "secret innuendo", a likely reference to media accounts of a closed-door briefing lawmakers had last week with Comey that suggested the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been looking into whether another meeting had taken place.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation. But he said that he was unable to say whether he had discussed Comey's handling of the FBI investigation on the principle that his conversations with the President should be kept confidential. But that changed Tuesday, with a variety of Republicans coming to Sessions' (and the White House's) aide.

"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff".

Comey may not have always exercised the best judgment, but senators of both parties praised his integrity and patriotism during the course of his public testimony.

The president undoubtedly has the right to assert executive privilege and stop an adviser from revealing details of deliberations, and Justice Department policies on releasing information to the public note the concept of "deliberative process privilege", which is meant to "encourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors".

Sessions noted in his testimony Tuesday that Comey had previously been deputy attorney general.

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.

With every development in the congressional probes into Russia's alleged ties to President Donald Trump's team, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) goes through the same routine with reporters. Rosenstein said he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

Rosenstein says the attorney general would be the only one who could fire Mueller. He added that "if there were good cause, I would consider it".

But the most definitive statement on the Mueller probe came from Rosenstein, who was on Capitol Hill testifying to a pair of subcommittees on the same day as Sessions.

Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing.

Other reports by VgToday

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