Sessions to face questions on Russia, Comey in high-stakes Senate hearing

Candice Alexander
June 14, 2017

Sessions responded, "I can say that absolutely and I have no hesitation to do so".

Sessions' testimony on Tuesday followed former FBI Director James Comey's appearance before the same committee last week.

Trump has expressed frustration with Sessions, one of his earliest high-profile campaign backers, but the attorney general's steely demeanor showed he was prepared to push back against outside criticism. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., suggested the attorney general was ducking questions, angering Sessions.

"Declining to answer questions at a congressional hearing about confidential conversations with the President is long-standing executive-branch-wide practice", the DOJ official said in a statement.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions replied. I'm following historic policies of Department of Justice. But the viral picture of the two in close vicinity at the Mayflower Hotel does not prove that Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak met on that day, or even spoke.

Senator Strange concurred, noting, "You share the opinion of most Alabamians and most Americans that I talk to, who care about getting real, common-sense, conservative solutions to our problems".

What's not clear is if Trump will be forced to invoke executive privilege to stop Sessions from testifying again, or from handing over the documents senators requested Tuesday. "DOJ traditionally does not discuss ongoing investigations in public, but ultimately must answer questions unless executive privilege is properly invoked and upheld".

It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway.

Sanders confirmed that the President did interview Robert Mueller as a candidate for FBI director the day before he was named special counsel of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian Federation ties. "I have no knowledge of any conversations held along those lines by anybody in the Trump campaign".

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"The suggestion that I participated in any an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.

Sessions is the most senior member of Trump's administration caught up in the controversy over whether associates of the president colluded with Russian Federation to help Trump win the election.

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".

Such a move would be complicated and potentially politically explosive. Trump is. And the case of James Comey is merely one of what are likely to be numerous headaches for an attorney general who must balance the ethics of his job with the threat of getting fired for telling his boss no. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about his two meetings with Kislyak.

In March he acknowledged he met twice previous year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak.

Sessions' clash with the Democratic senators was the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged Trump in his first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives. But Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after the revelations of the two Kislyak meetings. But it is wrong to suggest that the attorney general is obstructing a congressional investigation by protecting a legitimate legal privilege.

"I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any private conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel", said Sessions during his testimony, according to Los Angeles Times.

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.

Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign.

Other reports by VgToday

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