Sessions to face sharp questions on Trump, Russia, Comey

President Donald Trump waves from his car after speaking during a stop at General Mitchell International Airport Tuesday

President Donald Trump waves from his car after speaking during a stop at General Mitchell International Airport Tuesday

Sessions, a senior member of the Republican Trump's Cabinet and an adviser to his presidential campaign, had a series of tense exchanges with Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee during about 2-1/2 hours of high-stakes testimony as they pressed him to recount conversations with the president.

Sessions may be under a further cloud after Comey suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief.

(Sessions) "There are none".

"We asked them relevant questions and they basically said "We don't feel like answering" and that's not going to be acceptable (with Sessions)", said Wyden.

In March he acknowledged he met twice a year ago with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. Sessions doubled down on his assertion that Comey had to go because of his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton investigation.

- He denied that he recused himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation because he wasn't forthcoming about Russian Federation meetings.

But the attorney general added that he needed to not discuss his conversations with Trump, to preserve the president's ability to theoretically invoke executive privilege in the future.

Legal experts have told ThinkProgress that Trump's public disclosures regarding Comey's firing put into question whether his conversations with Comey are protected by presidential executive privilege, a legal doctrine that is not constitutionally guaranteed but that historically has protected a president's communications. Sessions: "I was not active in the platform committee and did not participate in that, and I don't think I had direct involvement". He began with an opening statement in which he denied any personal collusion with the Russians, saying that it was "an appalling and detestable lie". "I am confident that he will have sufficient independence", he told a Senate panel evaluating a Justice Department budget request. "You don't walk into any hearing or any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with the president of the United States". "Cotton", he said. "It's just like 'Through the Looking Glass.' I mean, what is this?"

Sessions said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein prepared a memo on Comey's performance that "noted some serious problems" with his performance.

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It comes as political intrigue pulses through the USA capital following explosive testimony by Comey before the same panel last week, and as Trump has expressed frustrations with Sessions, one of his earliest high-profile campaign backers. 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 refused to say whether he and Trump discussed FBI Director James Comey's handling of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the election campaign before the president fired Comey on May 9.

Sessions said he refused to answer questions on Tuesday in order to maintain Trump's ability to assert executive privilege at some later date.

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

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

"I don't recall a conversation like that", Comey said. The investigation is now being led by a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The nation's top law enforcement official - who has recused himself from all ongoing Russian Federation investigations - has himself become a focal point in congressional probes into the allegations of election meddling, in possible collusion with Trump's team, that have dogged the young administration. I never met with them. "I would have gladly have reported the meeting and encounter that may have occurred, and some say occurred, in the Mayflower if I had remembered it or if it actually occurred, which I don't remember that it did".

Senators are also expected to ask Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

But the investigation has settled like a cloud over the White House, overshadowing even Trump's stalled domestic agenda and disastrous foreign trip. "It is absurd, frankly, to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render an attorney general unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations", he said. Senator Harris, let him answer.

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