Senators grill the AG today on Russian Federation ties

Owen Stevens
June 14, 2017

Sessions had been set to testify before a budget-related subcommittee on Tuesday but, in letters to key lawmakers, said the intelligence committee that heard from Comey would be the more appropriate venue considering the Russia-related questions.

"The peril to Sessions is a great deal more regarding those conversations with the Russians because he made sworn statements on his security clearances that appear to be contradictory to his actual record with contact with Russians", Toobin said. During that meeting, Comey said, Trump asked him to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had been forced to resign the day before after failing to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador.

The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

"There's a real question of the propriety of the attorney general participating in that in any way, shape or form", Reed, an ex-officio member of the Senate intelligence committee, said on "Fox News Sunday". A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

"I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all", said Sen. That prompted at least some members of the committee to push for a closed hearing, or at least some allotted time to meet with Sessions privately after the public forum, aides said. Senators from both sides want to know why Sessions was involved in the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's firing, reports CBS News' Nancy Cordes.

A third area of vulnerability for Sessions also arose from the Comey hearing.

The president sacked Comey in early May.

Sessions eventually did recuse himself from the investigation, but he had not recused himself on February 13 when Trump dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn or the next day, on February 14, when Comey says the president told Comey to "let ... go" of his investigation into Flynn.

Jeff Sessions testifies before Senate
But: When Comey brought it up the next day, Sessions said he agreed it wasn't a good idea to be alone with the president. Sessions was repeatedly brought to task for evading questions on key parts of the Senate investigation.

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But Comey wouldn't say exactly what in open session.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has agreed to answer questions about Russian Federation in public, rather than behind closed doors.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The former senator from Alabama told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

Sessions' testimony will happen within a public hearing.

Comey also told the Senate panel he had thought Sessions would recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe earlier than he did, for undisclosed reasons that are classified.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to address the National Law Enforcement Conference on Human Exploitation in Atlanta, Georgia, US, June 6, 2017.

CNN previously reported that congressional investigators are examining whether Sessions had an additional private meeting with the Russian ambassador in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Sessions could be asked about that part of Comey's testimony, as well as his role in Comey's firing last month. On Saturday, he wrote the chairmen of both committees and said he was sending his deputy attorney general to testify in his place.

As these investigations remain ongoing, no substantive evidence exists that shows the Trump campaign worked with Moscow.

Other reports by VgToday

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