Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

He vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

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.

Harris first asked if Sessions used any documents to "refresh" his memory before the hearing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the suggestion that he colluded with Russians in the 2016 presidential election "is an appalling and detestable lie".

"I can not answer that because it was a communication by the president, or if any such occurred it would be a communication that he has not waived", Sessions said. Sessions argued that in the context of that hearing, "my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it".

He also declined to say if Trump opposed Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe in March, and whether Justice Department officials discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the probe. Sessions became attorney general in February but did not recuse himself from that probe until March.

Astonishingly, Sessions asserted that nothing is "problematic" about Trump pulling the FBI director into a private meeting amid an investigation involving his campaign. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pressed Sessions on why the attorney general actually recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation. If I don't qualify it, you'll accuse me of lying. There are none, Sen.

Democrats took a harsher tone, insisting Sessions had taken liberties in interpreting rules that enabled him to evade their questions.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions told Sen.

He told King that he never sought details on the Russian Federation investigation because of his close connections to Trump's presidential campaign.

"I have confidence in Bob Mueller", said top House Republican Paul Ryan, in remarks echoed by top senator Mitch McConnell.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, which is conducting a parallel Russian Federation probe, said on Twitter that Congress "must compel responses using whatever process necessary".

When asked what those problematic matters could be, Sessions fired back: "There are none!"

"I can not and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president", he said.

But time and again, Sessions returned to lines such as "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". "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

Sessions reportedly disparaged allegations that he had some connection to possible Russian collusion with the Trump White House, and denounced the allegation that he met with Kislyak at the Mayflower as a "detestable lie", and "false", according to KRON.

Sklansky: We learned that Sessions will refuse to answer any questions about his conversations with the president or other senior administration officials, even if there has been no claim of executive privilege. Sessions refused to answer, claiming that doing so would preempt the president's right to executive privilege - a president's right to withhold information in the public interest. He did allow for the possibility the men could have had a brief interaction "in passing" at a well-attended reception at the Mayflower Hotel before an April 2016 foreign policy speech by then-candidate Trump.

After the California democrat was interrupted by the Senate Intelligence Committee's chair - for the second time in two weeks - her name began trending on Twitter right alongside Sessions'. But he said that he was unable to say whether he had discussed Comey's handling of the FBI investigation on the principle that his conversations with the President should be kept confidential.

In a statement issued following the hearing, Sen. What probably took both Sessions and Rosenstein by surprise, however, was that Trump chose to fire Comey only two days later, initially citing Rosenstein's memo as his reason.

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