Sessions: Comey's Oval Office Meeting With Trump 'Not Problematic'

Lauren Perry
June 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to testify Tuesday to the Senate intelligence committee, the latest official to go before the panel as it investigates Russian meddling in the US election and potential coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Comey testified last week that he did not tell Sessions that Trump had asked him to drop a probe into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation because he suspected Sessions would soon need to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe. Many questions aimed at Sessions had to do with Comey's firing by President Donald Trump.

Sessions' hearing Tuesday made it clear he and Comey have two very different takes on the state of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Comey.

Sessions appeared before the intelligence committee just five days after Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9, told the panel Trump ousted him to undermine the agency's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.

Sessions is the highest-ranking official to be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russian hackers and the Trump presidential campaign.

"The suggestion that I participated in any hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.

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In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions also contradicted a contention made by former FBI Director James Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week. Sessions said "it appears" Russians attempted to interfere in the election, based on what the intelligence community believes. "I encourage every effort to get to the bottom of any such allegations", he said. They seem to have collective amnesia about meeting with Russian officials during and after the campaign and only remember when they have been caught.

"Disappointed that AG Sessions is refusing to answer relevant and proper questions - Americans want truth", Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. "Prior to the speech I attended by the president, I attended a reception with my staff that included at least two dozen people and President Trump".

"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", Sessions said, referring to media reports that Comey told lawmakers in a closed session that the Kislyak meeting would lead to Sessions' recusal from the Russian investigation. Sessions stated, "It simply did not occur to me to go further than the context of the question and list any conversations I may have had with Russians in routine situations, as I had with numerous other foreign officials".

Democratic senators pressed Sessions on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege regarding the hearing.

Instead he maintained that he was "not stonewalling", but "following the historic policies of the Department of Justice". I'll answer it in closed session.

Other reports by VgToday

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