Sessions to face sharp questions on Russian Federation contacts

Aaron Brown
June 15, 2017

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday vehemently rejected the suggestion he colluded with Russian Federation to tilt last year's election in Donald Trump's favor, branding the accusations an "appalling and detestable lie".

At a Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sessions testified that he found Comey's conduct 'stunning, ' despite his past statements of respect for Comey - and even as he angered Democrats on the committee for refusing to discuss whether he spoke about the Russian Federation investigation to President Trump.

If Sessions did not reply that he "couldn't recall" or "couldn't remember" a conversation, then he refused to answer questions on grounds of so-called executive privilege. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Department of Justice regulations created to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest mandated his recusal from the Department's Trump-Russia probe. I never learned the names of investigators.

Sessions' answer echoed, but did not illuminate, the account of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. Ron Wyden of OR asked Sessions whether there were any undisclosed reasons for his recusal from the Russian Federation probe. As the two spoke over one another in a tense exchange, Sessions told Harris, "I'm not able to be rushed this fast".

When the committee gets an answer to that question, it will be a lot closer to getting to the bottom of the Russian Federation collusion allegation than it is today.

"I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power and I have no power there", Sessions admitted to the committee's vice chairman, Sen.

"I felt I was required to under the Department of Justice".

HARRIS: So did you not consult it before you came before this committee, knowing we would ask you questions about that? "I attended a fair number of meetings on that with President Obama". King was incredulous to learn how little Sessions says he knew about the intelligence on Russian meddling in the USA election. But his former Democratic colleagues pressed him repeatedly on his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted. It later was revealed he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, once as a senator and once as Trump's adviser before the inauguration.

"There has been some public reporting of a possible third meeting at the Mayflower Hotel on April 27th", said Sen.

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"Sen. Wyden, I am not stonewall (ing)", Sessions said. "I'm protecting the president's constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance".

Sessions has said that those meetings were in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

According to Comey, Trump said of Flynn: "He is a good guy". I can tell you that for absolute certainty.

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.

"Certainly, the more President Trump opens his mouth and/or his Twitter account, the harder it will be for him and his associates to prevail in a fight over executive privilege - but that won't stop them from invoking it, and from requiring Congress or the courts to sort it out", Vladeck said via email. "But that in itself is not problematic".

Speaking at a news conference, Ryan said he knows Mueller and his team and has confidence in his investigation.

The Justice Department has responded, citing the need to follow "appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House".

In one of the most intriguing moments of Comey's testimony last week, the former FBI chief said he was hesitant to fully discuss with Sessions his interactions with Trump, because he knew that Sessions would soon be recusing himself from the investigation. Instead, he sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his place, which Sen.

During Sessions' confirmation process before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, both Leahy and U.S. Sen.

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