Jeff Sessions Pushes Back On Suggestions Of Collusion

During his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly suggested that "executive privilege" would prevent him from answer several questions. Mark Warner, D-Virginia.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Comey told the Senate panel last week that he had been made uncomfortable by the tone of Trump's remarks in the February 14 meeting in the Oval Office.

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

"So now to questions", Wyden said, "last Thursday I asked former Director Comey about the FBI's interactions with you, General Sessions, prior to stepping aside from the Russian investigation".

"But he has not asserted executive privilege", King said.

"He didn't ask", the official said, "but going into a hearing and saying we are going to do this ahead of time is not how the process works".

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich accused Sessions of "impeding" the Senate Committee's probe into Trump's possible Russian Federation connections, and appeared to threaten the AG with an obstruction of justice charge.

When asked by Sen.

Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March after it was revealed he twice met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign but failed to say so when pressed by lawmakers at his confirmation hearing.

Citing one example, Mr Sessions said it was "stunning" that the ex-FBI chief "usurped" the Department of Justice's authority by announcing that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails.

"It did not violate my recusal", Sessions responded.

When asked whether this DOJ custom had a written source, a DOJ official pointed CNN to two 1982 memoranda.

For example, Comey testified that Sessions lingered in the oval office on February 14, before leaving Comey alone with the president.

The attorney general went on to deny there were "issues" with his recusal that were "problematic".

Sessions time and again Tuesday pointed broadly to historical Justice practices to explain his decision not to answer.

"Sen. Wyden, I am not stonewall (ing)", Sessions said.

"I'm protecting the president's constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance to [do so]", Sessions said.

But: Sessions also said he thought Comey should be fired.

He said: "I recused myself not because of asserting wrongdoing or any belief that I may have been involved in wrongdoing in the campaign". "You are impeding this investigation".

Sessions said he agreed with a letter drafted by his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, that Comey should be replaced. He says he does not recall any private meetings or conversations with Russian officials at that event.

"Disappointed that AG Sessions is refusing to answer relevant and proper questions - Americans want truth", he said.

On June 13, Sessions testified before the Intelligence Committee as a part of its probe into the Russian government's role during the 2016 election.

"So did you not consult it before you came before this committee?"

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