Jeff Sessions denies 'false and scurrilous allegations'

Sessions spent more than 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included several testy exchanges with Democratic senators who accused him of obstructing their investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he wouldn't follow orders from President Donald Trump or anyone else to fire special counsel Robert Mueller unless they were "lawful and appropriate orders".

"Let me state this clearly, colleagues: I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) gestures as FBI Director James Comey looks on before his first meeting with heads of federal law enforcement components at the Justice Department in Washington, on February 9, 2017.

Ron Wyden aggressively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions on just what former FBI Director James Comey thought was "problematic" about Sessions that would ultimately lead to his recusal in the federal Russian Federation probe.

"I think it depends on the scope of the questions", Spicer said.

Testifying at a Senate hearing, Sessions said it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest that he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Sessions' testimony comes just six days after James Comey, the fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director, appeared before the same committee.

But Sessions has not addressed this issue directly, nor broader questions about his relationship with Comey.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, 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.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a member of the intelligence committee, told reporters he plans to press Sessions on his recusal.

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said. White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban.

"Our committee will want to hear what you are doing to ensure that the Russians - or any other foreign adversaries - can not attack our democratic process like this ever again". "I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document", the ex-FBI director testified. The White House has denied any collusion.US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the election to help Trump in part by hacking and releasing damaging emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.If Trump were targeting Mueller, dismissing him would not be a simple matter. But since the President can not directly fire the special counsel, the question lands squarely at the feet of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But his former Democratic colleagues pressed him repeatedly on his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted. He met with Kislyak twice while he was a USA senator.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.

"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel", said Sessions.

Wyden kicked off his time by saying that Americans "have had it with stonewalling".

A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told "PBS NewsHour" on Monday that the president was weighing whether to fire the special counsel now heading up the investigation, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Sessions on Saturday said he would appear before the intelligence committee, which has been doing its own investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies. As Trump tried to shoo everyone out to talk alone with Comey, Sessions lingered, in Comey's account. "This President wants to focus on the people of this country to ensure they are treated fairly and kept safe", said Sessions. "But that in itself is not problematic".

"I. why don't you tell me? I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice, and basically backed him up in his concerns". Mark Warner of Virginia said that in addition to Burr's questions, he wanted to know why Sessions participated in the firing of Comey which he said was over the handling of the Russian Federation probe.

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