5 things we learned at Jeff Sessions' hearing

As Sessions chuckled at the commotion, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said he would run his own committee but instructed Harris to allow Sessions to answer. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pressed Sessions on why the attorney general actually recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., criticized Sessions for taking an oath to tell the truth and then refusing to answer questions.

Raising his voice, he said: "This is a secret innuendo being leaked there about me and I don't appreciate it".

Faced with statements by President Trump that he fired Comey in part because of the Russian Federation probe, Sessions stood by his argument that Comey had earned negative reviews due to the "stunning" way he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying Comey never should have spoken publicly about it during the 2016 election campaign.

When Wyden accused him of not answering the questions about Comey's reported remark that his behavior after recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe was "problematic", Sessions chuckled and then launched into his most theatrical defense of his actions. Recall that former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 8 that, as early as January 26, she had warned the White House counsel's office that then-national security adviser and Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

It would appear, then, that the possibility of the need for such a recusal should have been known by Sessions and other top officials in the Trump administration well before March 2.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.

But: When Comey brought it up the next day, Sessions said he agreed it wasn't a good idea to be alone with the president.

Sessions testified Tuesday that he had been at an event at the Mayflower hotel a year ago when Trump was giving a foreign policy speech. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge. Trump, who reportedly had already chose to fire Comey, had asked Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to prepare a memo justifying his decision.

President Trump has "no intention" of firing the special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, a senior spokeswoman for Trump told reporters traveling with the president Tuesday.

He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.

You don't walk into any hearing or committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with the president of the United States who's entitled to receive confidential communications in your best judgement about a host of issues and after - be accused of stonewalling for not answering them.

"Well, we talked about that", Sessions responded.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate intelligence committee for more than two hours this afternoon.

"The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian Federation investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation", said Sen.

As news of his testimony broke, Sessions attended a Cabinet meeting with Trump at the White House. Ron Wyden of Oregon. Since his appointment, Mueller has hired a seasoned group of investigators and former prosecutors to look into potential links between Trump's campaign and Russian government officials. "Cotton", he said. "It's just like 'Through the Looking Glass.' I mean, what is this?"

"I'm not able to invoke executive privilege, that's the President's prerogative", Sessions reiterated. Mr. Comey, perhaps he didn't know, but I basically recused myself the first day I got into the office.

He denied that he had a third, undisclosed private one-on-one conversation with the Russian ambassador.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he could not elaborate on. Sessions cited a Justice Department policy which blocks officials from testifying about private discussions with the President.

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