Jeff Sessions, Ron Wyden tussle over James Comey's testimony

Attorney General Jeff Sessions captivated Washington Tuesday, beating back rumors of a private meeting with Russia's ambassador to the USA and mounting a defense for President Donald Trump, one week after former FBI Director James Comey artfully unloaded on both men. Sessions' Democratic critics quipped that's like refusing to answer questions in court, because you might later request immunity under the Fifth Amendment. Despite that recusal, he was involved in Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the Russian Federation probe.

"It is my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said.

The attorney general acknowledged that Trump hadn't evoked "executive privilege" - legalese for an ability to protect private conversations with the President - but still refused to answer any questions from senators regarding his conversations with Trump, including whether he and Trump had discussed the Russian Federation investigation when talking about firing Comey. A move the White House hasn't ruled out. Martin Heinrich, who took issue with Sessions declining to answer questions. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller", he said.

Asked about Trump's own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves". Sessions said: "It did not violate my recusal".

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

Sessions, though, has recused himself from all ongoing investigations into Russian Federation.

"It's conceivable that that occurred", Sessions said, "I just don't remember". Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in one typical exchange. Angus King (I-Maine), noting that Trump had not yet asserted his executive privilege on the matter.

He said he was avoiding saying anything in case the president might later choose to exercise his executive privilege to withhold certain evidence.

He also said Comey should have shared his concerns about the Trump conversation with another Justice Department official, Dana Boente, who was then acting deputy attorney general, and would have been Comey's direct supervisor.

Former FBI boss James Comey was sacked by the President over a "lack of discipline", USA attorney general Jeff Sessions has claimed. He said he didn't recall whether he'd had a third meeting with the Russian ambassador, in addition to the original two he initially failed to report.

Here's a look at the top quotes from Sessions' hearing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington on March 6, 2017.

Heinrich repeatedly pressed Sessions to answer questions about his private conversations with President Donald Trump, but Sessions refused. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

The official fired back at lawmakers over claims that he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election, calling it an "appalling and detestable lie". Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation early previous year to review the possible third meeting with Kislyak. If he did, Sessions added, "nothing improper" would have been discussed.

In particular, Sessions tamped down Comey's recounting of the February 14 meeting Comey had with Trump - where Trump reportedly asked him stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

SESSIONS: I have no information that he did. When asked, the attorney general would not commit to appearing before the committee again for additional testimony.

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