Key takeaways from Sessions' testimony

Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill

Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill

Sen. Mark Warner, D., Va., asked the attorney general if he had confidence in former FBI Director Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to probe whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

The announcement caps the drama that started over the weekend when Sessions canceled two appearances Thursday, citing former Comey's blistering testimony last week.

He said he had met twice with Kislyak - once during the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office - and that he did not disclose that during his confirmation hearing.

He denied that he had a third, undisclosed private one-on-one conversation with the Russian ambassador.

"I would have gladly have reported the meeting, the encounter that may have occurred, that some say occurred in the Mayflower, if I had remembered it, or if it actually occurred which I don't remember that it did", Sessions said.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe the next day.

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

Some have said Sessions recusal should have prohibited him from firing former FBI Director James Comey.

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.

This was after a February meeting in which Comey said Trump told Sessions and others to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

When asked by Sen.

Additionally, if Comey had been concerned about meeting with the president one-on-one, a concern to which he testified last week, Sessions said Comey should've informed another Justice Department official. "Many suggested [I recused myself] because I was a subject of the investigation, but [the statute] was the reason", Sessions said at the hearing Tuesday.

"No, I don't believe I ever did", Sessions said.

As for the dismissal of Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director on 9 May, he said he had raised his concerns about Comey's performance even before his own confirmation as attorney general in February. Comey's decision to announce a year ago that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said.

A former high-ranking Justice Department official familiar with how the inspector general handles complaints said any filing by Kasowitz would most likely be treated as part of an existing investigation into Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. "Those were lies, plain and simple", Comey said.

Sessions said it would be "absurd" to suggest that a recusal from a single investigation would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI. King pressed at one point. Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

But Sessions proved he is clearly capable of giving an answer in black and white.

The attorney general vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations", adding that any suggestion about his knowledge of a collusion would be a "detestable and appalling lie".

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