Trump pleased with Sessions testimony

Lauren Perry
June 14, 2017

The US Attorney General has denied that he had any secret meetings with Russian Federation before the US election.

He vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday that he had any undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador or conversions with Russian officials about the US elections.

Sessions (pictured below) wrote a letter to Trump recommending the abrupt dismissal of then-FBI Director James Comey, who was heading the investigation into ties between Trump's associates and the Kremlin in the 2016 campaign and transition.

In another exchange with lawmakers, Sessions disputed Comey's testimony about a key discussion the two of them had in February, after the president met with Comey alone and privately suggested the Federal Bureau of Investigation drop its probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

Asked by senator James Risch, a Republican from Idaho, whether Sessions had heard "a whisper or suggestion or anyone making making reference within [the Trump] campaign that somehow the Russians were involved in that campaign", the attorney general responded "I did not". He also asked why Sessions recused himself from oversight of the FBI's Russian Federation probe and wanted to know what role in played in Comey's dismissal. While Democrats complained about a lack of answers, Republicans countered that the Sessions hearing showed a lack of evidence that tied the Trump Campaign to anything nefarious involving Russian Federation.

Sessions, who testified before the Committee on June 13, has admitted to two previous meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. That raises a couple of questions: why it took him an entire month to announce his recusal after he was sworn in, and what Comey was referring to when he testified last week that Sessions' continued involvement in the Russian Federation investigation was rendered "problematic" by facts that couldn't be discussed in open session.

He corroborated Comey's statement that Comey had asked Sessions not to leave him alone with the president. Martin Heinrich told Sessions he was "impeding" the congressional investigation by not answering questions. "There are none, Sen Wyden, there are none", Mr Sessions insisted, his voice rising. Ron Wyden (D-OR), decrying "secret innuendo" from Comey and other critics.

As for Comey's firing, Sessions told senators that his recommendation had nothing to do with the Russian Federation probe, that he and his second-in-command, Rosenstein, had a "clear view. that we had problems there, and it was my best judgment that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the appropriate thing to do". Harris asked him whether he kept records - in calendars, memos, emails - of his conversations with US President Donald Trump. Sessions said they had decided, even before they were confirmed for their positions at the Justice Department, that they needed to remove Comey because the Federal Bureau of Investigation needed a "fresh start".

Sessions defended his decision to participate in the firing of Comey, even though he had recused himself from the Russian matter and Trump later said that the probe was in his mind when he pushed the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief overboard. "I think if I had had a meeting with Ambassador Kislyak, or three for that matter, I would go the extra mile to make sure that every time I connected with him I was transparent about that with the US Congress".

Sessions refused to answer numerous committee's questions about conversations he is believed to have had with Trump as, in the attorney general's opinion, doing so would violate executive privilege.

Sessions beseeched his former Senate colleagues to believe him when he said he did not hold an undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a speech by then-candidate Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington past year. "It's just beyond my capability to understand", Sessions said.

Other than disputing Comey's claim that Sessions seemed helpless to rein in the president, there was none of that in Sessions' remarks.

"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel".

Other reports by VgToday

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