Attorney General to talk publicly at US Senate panel

Sessions is the highest-ranking official to be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russian hackers who are believed to have meddled in last year's election and the Trump presidential campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never had conversations with FBI Director James Comey about his job performance before Comey's firing.

While he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Sessions said, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday he had no contact with Russian officials related to last year's USA presidential campaign and was not aware of anyone else in President Trump's campaign who did so.

The attorney general may also be asked if there are tapes of the president's private conversations with Comey, as Mr. Trump suggested last month but refused to confirm Monday.

That's right - after last week's blockbuster testimony from Comey, Sessions has a lot to answer for with regards to the sequence of events that have played out since President Trump took office. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.

The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

The former Republican U.S. senator, an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January that he had no dealings with Russian officials previous year.

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions about whether the possibility of pardons had been considered in the Russian Federation collusion investigation, or for fired national security adviser Mike Flynn. "I have no knowledge of any conversations held along those lines by anybody in the Trump campaign".

Sessions was sworn in February 9 but did not actually step away from the investigation until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed Kislyak meetings. "I felt I was required to under the rules of the Department of Justice". Mark Warner asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday. If - if, as the President said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the Attorney General involved in that chain?

"These false attacks, the innuendo, the leaks ... will not intimidate me", the AG said. Sessions said he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump, and members of Sessions' staff also were there.

Trump's dismissal last month of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Comey - who was overseeing the Russian Federation probe - has led to questions about potential obstruction of justice.

Wyden plied Sessions on whether his signing a letter recommending Comey's firing violated his recusal.

Democratic Sen Ron Wyden of OR asked Mr Sessions about suggestions arising from Mr Comey's testimony last week that there was something "problematic" about his recusal.

Sessions says he has not had contact with Robert Mueller since Mueller was named special counsel into the Russian Federation investigation.

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

Until a statement yesterday from committee Chairman Richard Burr, it had been unclear whether Mr Sessions would testify in an open or closed setting.

The attorney general may also face questions on this.

Sessions, the United States' top law enforcement officer, made the remarks during an appearance before the Senate Committee on Intelligence - just five days after former FBI Director James Comey showed up there to add weight to his side of the story. "I did not attend any meetings at that event".

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