Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Russian Federation probe, Comey firing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify during a U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday in Washington D.C

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify during a U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday in Washington D.C

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not responded relevant questions related to the Russian Federation probe during a congressional testimony while having no legal excuses for doing so, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a press release.

Democratic senators expressed frustration with Sessions on several occasions.

Sessions dodged questions about were whether he had discussed Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's handling of the FBI's Russian Federation probe with Trump before the president fired Comey on May 9.

"Sen. Heinrich, I'm not able to share with this committee private communications - " Sessions said, before Heinrich cut him off. "I hope you can let this go".

Harris: When you knew that you would be asked these questions and you would rely on this policy, did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for refusing to answer the majority of the questions that have been asked of you. He did allow for the possibility that he encountered him in a reception that he said was attended by a couple dozen people, though he said he had no specific recollection of that. The FBI is part of the Justice Department that Sessions heads.

Executive privilege is a power that can be claimed by a president or senior executive branch officials to withhold information from Congress or the courts to protect the executive branch decision-making process.

The hearing didn't delve too deeply into the original concern behind the Senate intelligence committee inquiry, which is what Russian actors allegedly did the election to hack emails, and allegedly voting systems, to undermine faith in the U.S. Democratic process.

"If President Trump ordered you to fire Special Counsel Mueller, what would you do?" asked Sen. He said at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

"That's my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said.

"Senator Feinstein, that would call for a communication between the director and the president and I'm not able to comment on that". Republicans were mostly noncombative, if not friendly to Sessions Tuesday, maybe none more so than Sen.

While the Justice Department has said Sessions recused himself in March because of his involvement in Trump's campaign, Comey testified that the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew of information that would have made it "problematic" for Sessions to be involved.

It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway.

When asked about rumors that the president was considering firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller, Sanders said the president wasn't planning on doing so any time soon.

Such a move would be complicated and potentially politically explosive. For one thing, the attorney general testified in a separate congressional hearing: "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller".

Washington power-players have pushed back against the suggestion that the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation affair could be fired, moving to tamp down the sudden talk bubbling up from allies of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Democratic senators pressed him on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege around the hearing. He has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.

The White House said Trump thinks Sessions "did a very good job" in his testimony.

The attorney general on March 2 recused himself from the FBI investigation into Russia's role in the election, saying he felt he was required to do so because he had been a prominent figure in Trump's campaign.

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