Attorney General Sessions Testifying in Russia Probe Hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions got into a testy exchange with Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Sessions came under fire earlier this year after he denied meeting with Russian officials during his January confirmation hearing, but later told reporters that he had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice.

He also declined to say if Trump opposed Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe in March, and whether Justice Department officials discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the probe.

"Senator, I'm protecting the president's constitutional right", he told Senator Martin Heinrich.

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".

"I wouldn't think that would be appropriate for me to do", Sessions said.

That leaves Mr. Trump right where he was yesterday, furious over the ongoing distraction all this causes, and likely still unhappy with Sessions, who he's reportedly accused of not doing enough to defend him in the Russian Federation matter. Furthermore, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump Campaign.

"Certainly I can assure you nothing improper [happened] if I'd had a conversation with him, and it's conceivable that occurred", Sessions said (via The Week). He said he did not have any meetings at the event and did not recall any "brief interaction" he may have had with the Russian ambassador in passing at reception at the Mayflower.

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing.

Sanders confirmed that the President did interview Robert Mueller as a candidate for FBI director the day before he was named special counsel of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian Federation ties.

"I recuse myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing or any belief that I may have been involved in any wrongdoing in the campaign, but because a Department of Justice regulation... required it", said Sessions.

Sessions' demeanor heated up as it became obvious he felt wronged by comments made by fired FBI Director James Comey.

Sessions replied that only the president could invoke executive privilege, which allows the president to withhold information if doing so is in the public interest.

Mr Sessions recommended the firing last month, raising questions about whether he violated his recusal from the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation.

"I do not" Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

Combined with last week's testimony from Comey, today's hearing crystallized the tenor of Washington under the Trump administration.

"It would be premature for me to deny the president a full and intelligent choice about executive privilege", he said.

Shortly after the meeting, Comey said he confronted Sessions, saying that had become increasingly uneasy about being left alone with Trump.

"He didn't recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy" regarding contacts with the White House, Sessions said.

Sessions said during his hearing he is not sure if he would be able to answer the questions in a closed session. But a number of prominent Republicans cautioned Trump that firing Mueller, who is overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, would be a "disaster".

"I basically backed him up in his concerns - and that was that he should not carry on any conversation with the president or anyone else about an investigation in a way that was not proper".

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