Sessions: 'I Have Confidence' In Mueller

Jane Richards
June 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he had "no idea" if President Donald Trump had confidence in the special counsel leading the Russian Federation investigation, Robert Mueller. He vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

Sessions is expected to face sharp questions from his former Senate colleagues about his role in FBI Director James Comey's firing, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to step aside from the investigation involving Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Comey had testified in an earlier public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he did not apprise Sessions of the details of his February 14 meeting with Trump - during which he asked if the FBI would consider dropping the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to Comey - because he was sure Sessions was going to recuse himself from the probe imminently.

Sessions told the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday he was not silent, saying he stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

"He didn't recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy" regarding contacts with the White House, Sessions said. He said at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. Sessions argued that in the context of the hearing, "my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it".

"Well said", he wrote after Sessions said in his opening statement that he "did not recuse (himself) from defending (his) honor from false and scurrilous accusations".

Sessions, a top Trump campaign surrogate, recused himself from the FBI's Russian Federation investigation in March, a day after The Washington Post reported that he had had at least two undisclosed meetings with Kislyak during the election - once during the Republican National Convention and again in his office in September.

Mueller also won votes of support Tuesday from the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both of whom said they have confidence in him.

Sessions said he was there for a speech by then-candidate Trump and members of Sessions' staff also were there.

"That regulation states, in effect, that Department employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they have served as a campaign advisor", said Sessions. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked Sessions whether Trump records his conversations in the White House.

Then, perhaps unintentionally, Sessions referred to a possible third meeting between himself and the Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, which Comey had reportedly told senators about in a closed hearing.

A source close to the attorney general told Axios that although Sessions was at the event, he did not recall any interaction with the ambassador, and no private meeting took place.

Other reports by VgToday

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