Deputy AG wouldn't fire Mueller if unlawful

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday branded claims that he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election as an "appalling and detestable lie", as Democrats blasted him for "stonewalling" to defend the Trump administration over the Russia probe and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

What happened after former FBI Director James Comey met one-on-one with President Trump in the Oval Office on February 14, Sen. You say 'This is classified, can't answer it here, I'll answer it in closed session, ' that's bucket number two.

"I am not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others", Sessions said.

Some believe Sessions may have committed perjury by failing to disclose his meetings with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearing.

"The Attorney General has requested that this hearing be public", Justice Department spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said Sessions' "silence speaks volumes".

"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff". And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts previous year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.

Leahy says he wants to know why Sessions "has provided false testimony" about those contacts.

The former Republican senator took over the Justice Department with a tough-on-crime agenda that included quashing illegal immigration, rooting out drug gangs and leading the charge in helping cities fight spikes in violence.

Rosenstein, who has been on the job for six weeks, said only he could fire Mueller, and only if he found good cause to do so.

"I'm not able to invoke executive privilege, that's the President's prerogative", Sessions reiterated.

The release of Otto Warmbier came during a visit to North Korea by former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman, one of few people to have met both North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said.

Despite Sessions' statement about the reasons for his recusal, the attorney general did not actually step aside from the Russia probe until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Comey's decision to announce past year that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said.

Sessions isn't expected to hit Trump while testifying on live television, but look for senators to try and get at how much pressure Trump has put on him.

Mr Comey said that, after an encounter with President Donald Trump in which he said Mr Trump pressured him to back off an investigation into the former national security adviser, Mr Comey "implored" Mr Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with the president again - but that Mr Sessions did not respond.

Sessions repeatedly said he could not reveal details of conversations with President Donald Trump concerning the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal. "I do recall being one of the last ones to leave, I don't know how that occurred", he said.

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