Democrats Fuming Over Sessions' Refusal to Answer Questions

The former Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, one of Trump's most avid supporters on the campaign trail, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January he had no dealings with Kremlin officials a year ago. Some legal experts have said the information disclosed was not privileged because Trump himself had already publicly discussed their conversations.A former high-ranking Justice Department official familiar with how the inspector general handles complaints said any filing by Kasowitz would most likely be treated as part of an existing investigation into Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Comey said the president then leaned on him to halt an investigation into one of his top aides, former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Asked if he had confidence in Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead the Russian Federation investigation, Mr Sessions replied: "I have confidence in Mr Mueller but I am not going to discuss any hypotheticals", noting that he was not involved in the Russian Federation investigation. "You don't walk into any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with President of United States".

Sessions said during his hearing he is not sure if he would be able to answer the questions in a closed session. He never, he insisted, knew anything about the Russian Federation probe or had any role in it.

Later, Sessions directly blasted Comey for his testimony in private last week, "This is a secret innuendo out there being leaked about me - and I don't appreciate it". "But this is the reason I recused myself".

A Justice Department spokesman confirmed to HuffPost this week that former Attorney General Eric Holder's 2009 memo on contacts between the White House and the Justice Department is still in effect.

The high-stakes testimony also takes place amid reported friction between Sessions and Trump, who criticized the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe. The committee shortly after said the hearing would be open.

Wyden asked Sessions what problematic issues existed.

"You raised your right hand here today and said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich said. There are none, Sen.

"That's just not going to be acceptable tomorrow", said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the committee. "But I have to tell you, Sen".

The attorney general said he couldn't confirm or deny private talks he had with Trump regarding the firing of Comey.

Rosenstein 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.

During his testimony last week, Comey said he had notes of meetings with Trump in which the president asked him for a pledge of personal loyalty and to drop the Russian Federation investigation as it pertained to former national security adviser Flynn. He asserted that "I am protecting the right of the president to assert if it he chooses and there may be other privileges that may apply".

The White House has moved to put a lid on speculation that President Donald Trump might fire the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation affair, while leaving just enough of a crack to keep the idea bubbling.

When it later emerged he had in fact had several meetings with Kislyak, some Democrats accused him of lying to Congress and demanded his resignation. Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation early past year to review the possible third meeting with Kislyak. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow. Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Comey; Comey said last week that "lordy" he hopes there are.

The exchange became more heated, with Sessions later telling Wyden: "I am not stonewalling". "I don't know, Sen".

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