Sessions to face questions on Russia, Comey

Angelica Greene
June 14, 2017

Lastly, Mr Sessions could be questioned about Mr Comey's request that the attorney general shield him from having to directly communicate with Mr Trump.

Sessions said that executive privilege is the president's to assert and Trump had not done so yet.

The former Alabama senator defended himself against accusations that he misrepresented himself during his confirmation hearing by saying he hadn't met with Russian officials during the campaign.

But Sessions says Comey should have relayed his concerns to Dana Boente, who was then acting as deputy attorney general and Comey's direct supervisor.

Sessions is enmeshed in multiple lines of ongoing inquiry: He had meetings with Russian officials that later forced him to recuse himself from the Justice Department's probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

"I can not answer that, " Sessions replied, adding that he never got any briefing about the probe and didn't know much about it beyond what was in the newspapers.

While he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Sessions said, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations". The abrupt dismissal prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.The attorney general will also face questions about whether he met Kislyak on a third occasion.

Shortly after the meeting, Comey said he confronted Sessions, saying that had become increasingly uneasy about being left alone with Trump. He says Comey should have talked to Boente, especially if he had concerns about Sessions staying involved in the Russian Federation investigation.

- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 11:30 a.m.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

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Sessions has not spoken under oath since his confirmation hearing in January.

"Well, some of that leaked out of the committee that he said in closed session", Sessions said.

How many times did Sessions meet with Sergey Kislyak? Comey was leading that probe.

"That's my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said. National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, both declined to discuss their own Trump communications during a hearing last week. In a speech about violent crime in Richmond, Virginia, this past March, Sessions called cannabis use a "life-wrecking dependency" and said that it will "destroy your life".

In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested Sessions could invoke executive privilege during his testimony.

She described Comey's testimony as "candid" and "thorough" and said she would support a subpoena if needed.

Asked about Trump's own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves. The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information". He says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed it and "we both agreed that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probably the best thing".

"If President Trump ordered you to fire Special Counsel Mueller, what would you do?" asked Sen.

But he denied meeting Kislyak a third time, at an April 27, 2016 reception for Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

Other reports by GizPress

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