Attorney General Jeff Sessions set to testify before Senate Intelligence Committee

US President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington DC

US President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington DC

Sessions also testified that he had never had any meetings with officials from Russian Federation or anywhere else about interference in the United States election.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The attorney general's testimony comes days after Comey told congressional investigators that FBI leaders expected Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation before the attorney general's March announcement, however, he declined to publicly say what led to that assessment.

Comey referred frequently to the attorney general and included the tantalizing tidbit that there were "facts that I can't discuss in an open setting". "He wouldn't answer the most basic question under oath".

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment blocks the Justice Department from stopping states that want to implement marijuana business laws.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee say they're confused about why Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not disclose conversations he had with the president. Comey's decision to announce previous year that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said.

Mr Wyden asked Mr Sessions what problematic issues existed. He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

Sessions insisted he stepped aside from the Russian Federation investigation because he was a principal adviser to the Trump campaign, not because he did something wrong or was a subject of the probe.

But when Harris attempted to get Sessions to provide shorter answers, things took a tense turn.

In a number of cases, Sessions declined to answer, frustrating senators who sought answers.

"Well, you let me qualify it", he said. But he said that he was unable to say whether he had discussed Comey's handling of the FBI investigation on the principle that his conversations with the President should be kept confidential.

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported encounter with Kislyak in April 2016, at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech.

"There's one meeting we don't know about and people would like to know about it", said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III.

"I have deep concerns any time a sitting attorney general refuses to answer questions under oath, and the attorney general refused time and time again, without ever invoking executive privilege", Heinrich said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront".

Sessions, a former Republican US senator and an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, testified just five days after Comey told the panel Trump ousted him to undermine the agency's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.

HEINRICH: Can you share those policies with us?

Even before Sessions testified, attention in Washington swiveled to whether Trump might seek to fire Robert Mueller, named last month by the Justice Department to head a federal probe into the Russian Federation issue.

Sessions said during the hearing that it would be "inappropriate" for him to discuss details of private conversations with President Donald Trump. Sessions says Comey firing was all about Clinton emails.

As Mr Trump tried to shoo everyone out to talk alone with Mr Comey, Mr Sessions lingered, in Comey's account.

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