Four revelations from today's Sessions hearing

Four revelations from today's Sessions hearing

Four revelations from today's Sessions hearing

SHAPIRO: What are the key takeaways from the attorney general's appearance in front of the Senate intelligence committee? In his opening statement, Sessions asserted that any accusation that he colluded with Russian officials to subvert the 2016 election was a malicious lie.

TRT World's Azadeh Ansari reports from Washington DC.

SHAPIRO: It was widely reported before this hearing that Sessions would claim executive privilege to refuse to answer some questions, but when the ranking Democrat on the committee, Senator Mark Warner, asked why Sessions was refusing to answer questions about conversations with the president, the attorney general said it was based on what he called reasons that are founded in the co-equal branch of powers and the Constitution.

Sessions also testified that he had never had any meetings with officials from Russian Federation or anywhere else about interference in the USA election.

"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 appropriate contacts with the White House", Sessions told the panel.

"Mr. Comey said that there were matters in respect of the recusal that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them".

Comey testified last week that as of February 14, he still believed Sessions had not recused himself - but that he nearly certainly would.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation on March 2, two weeks after Comey's Oval Office one-on-one with Trump.

"I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Heinrich forcefully accused Sessions of obstructing the investigation into collusion with Russian Federation, continuing a pattern already documented within the Trump administration.

The furor that resulted from Comey's firing led to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel, to oversee the Russian Federation investigation.

Sessions repeatedly refused to discuss private conversations with Trump on a wide variety of topics.

Sessions corroborated part of Comey's testimony last week, telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump did at one time abruptly request a private Oval Office meeting with the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

He was being asked about Comey's testimony. A friend of Trump's said Monday that the President was considering taking just such a step.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event. Sessions said of that moment: "He was concerned about it, and his recollection of what he said to me about this concern is consistent with my recollection". "I only know what I've read in the paper", Sessions told Sen. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so. Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice Russia investigation in March, but then signed a letter endorsing Comey's firing in May. He declined to talk about whether Sessions' involvement in his firing violated the recusal.

At other times, though, Sessions frequently said he couldn't recall specifics, particularly when asked about his meetings with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Democrats were unhappy with Sessions declining to testify about his discussions with Trump. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked Sessions to give details about his September meeting with the Russian ambassador in his Senate office. Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Comey; Comey said last week that "lordy" he hopes there are.

He again cited a Justice Department rule.

"Are these leaks serious threats to our national security, and is the Department of Justice taking them with the appropriate degree of seriousness in investigating and ultimately going to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law?"

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