Attorney General to face sharp questions on Russia contacts



Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify starting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, before the Senate Intelligence Committee about matters linked to the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Former FBI Director James Comey launched Sessions into the spotlight with his own testimony last week.

Senators want to get Sessions' take on all this.

Trump has been publicly dismissive of the Russian Federation investigation for months. And on Tuesday, odds are good that Sessions may also not respond to some of the most pressing questions at the hearing.

1. How many times did Sessions meet with Sergey Kislyak?

While it is not unusual for political campaigns to have contact with foreign officials, Sessions recused himself from the inquiry in March after media reports said he had not disclosed two previous meetings past year with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

But reports of a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak have occupied congressional investigators since then.

Over the weekend, Sessions asked to appear before the Intelligence Committee instead of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, where he was expected to appear to discuss Department of Justice funding. Feinstein is the top Democrat on that panel and a member of both.

The stakes of an intensifying Russian Federation investigation are growing for President Donald Trump, as his attorney general prepares to confront lawmakers on Capitol Hill for the first time about what role he played in the inquiry and the firing of FBI director James Comey.

Comey's testimony last week revealed new avenues of inquiry that lawmakers are likely to pursue on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify in public to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday on his role in the Russian Federation investigation.

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations that look at Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign.

Those calls have escalated since fired FBI Director James Comey cryptically told lawmakers on Thursday that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election.

"The attorney general has requested that this hearing be public", said spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

3. Will Sessions invoke executive privilege?

Fired FBI director James Comey testified last week that Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, directed him on how to describe the FBI probe into Clinton's email practices. Subsequent reports suggested the intelligence hearing would happen behind closed doors.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to say if he thought Mr Sessions should refrain from revealing his conversations with the president, saying it "depends on the scope of the questions". Sessions said the Senate intel committee was the "appropriate forum" for such questions.

According to Comey's testimony, the others in the room, all of whom were asked to leave before the Flynn conversation, included Vice President Mike Pence; Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA; Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, now the secretary of Homeland Security.

Sessions told Trump he was "honored" to be able to serve him. Does Sessions have a different recollection of what had been discussed? Did Sessions remember that?

"As NPR's Carrie Johnson recently reported on All Things Considered: "[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling. Did Jeff Sessions step down?

But, two months later, he was involved in the firing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation official overseeing that probe. Unusual added that by Sessions speaking publicly, "It takes out the media... the liberal media, for sure, in interpreting what he might have said".

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, also a member of the intelligence panel, sent a letter to panel Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Warner asking for the hearing to be open.

"Based on everything I know, this isn't close to what people believe is a real recusal!"

On Sunday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D. "The intelligence agencies have been complying with our requests in the Russian Federation probe, I think very completely", Schiff says.

Collins also asked Rosenstein what he'd do if Trump told him to fire Mueller. But since the President can not directly fire the special counsel, the question lands squarely at the feet of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017.

Sessions' appearance is not without risk.

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