Sessions says he was never briefed on Russian interference

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday having an undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the US or conversations with any Russian officials about the USA election that sent Donald Trump to the White House.

Reports emerged that President Donald Trump may sack special counsel Robert Mueller. He also criticized "false attacks" and "innuendo" that he implied were created to thwart the Trump administration's capacity to enact its agenda. "And I'm trying to give my best recusal answer in committees I've appeared before, and really people are suggesting through innuendo that I have not been honest about matters, and I'm trying to be honest".

When asked by Sen.

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

His responses triggered an explosion by Sen. Ron Wyden. "I'm following historic policies of Department of Justice".

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on. I replied "Senator Franken, I'm not aware of those activities".

"We may have discussed that", Sessions said, apparently responding to McCain's earlier question.

And that boss, Jeff Sessions, also promised Tuesday not to get involved in any firing. "Now you're not answering questions". "But I have to tell you, Sen".

Sessions said he has not received briefings on any Russian Federation hacking.

Sessions told the senators he has confidence in Mueller but said he had "no idea" if Trump did because he had not spoken to the president about the matter. But time and again, Sessions returned to lines such as "I am not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others".

Feinstein then asked, "How do you view that?"

During a tempestuous appearance in front of the Senate intelligence committee, Mr Sessions denied participating "in any collusion, or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country". And he appeared to do that effectively in a strong opening statement, where he slammed the door shut on even the possibility that he had a third meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Sessions also argued that his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation did not mean that he should be barred from his oversight duties over the FBI, following claims by Democrats that he should have not played a role in Comey's firing.

He said he was avoiding saying anything in case the president might later choose to exercise his executive privilege to withhold certain evidence. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge. I wanted to refute immediately any suggestions that I was part of such activity.

The committee's Republican chairman, Richard Burr, asked Sessions to ask the White House if there were areas officials there would be comfortable with him answering and provide written answers if so.

Sessions went on the offensive in his testimony, saying he would not be intimidated by the "false attacks", innuendo and leaks about the Russian Federation investigation that he implied were part of an effort to derail the Trump administration agenda.

He said it was "absurd" to suggest that his recusal from the Russian Federation probe would render him "unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations".

Sessions also mounted an impassioned defense on Trump, perhaps in the expectation that the President would be watching his appearance on Air Force One as he flew to Wisconsin.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen. I explained how in good faith I said I had not met with Russians because they were suggesting I, as a surrogate, had been meeting continuously with Russians. "I just don't have a real recall of the meeting".

Other reports by VgToday

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