Sessions brands Russian Federation collusion claims a 'detestable lie'

Comey declined to elaborate in an open setting and Sessions accepted the intelligence committee's invitation to appear in part so he could address those comments.

As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he's had with Trump.

Although Sessions, a genteel 70-year-old from the southern state of Alabama, backed Trump's campaign, he was also one of the first administration officials to fly into turbulence.

But the revelations forced Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March.

President Donald Trump was supportive of medical marijuana measures at the state level during his campaign (he even said he knew people who benefited from medical marijuana treatment).

"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie".

In that testimony, Comey said Trump asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation director to remain behind after a meeting in the Oval Office.

"My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving, which is why he was lingering", Comey said last week.

"The chain of command for the special counsel is only directly to the attorney general, or in this case, the acting attorney general, so nobody else in the department would have the authority to do that, and you have my assurance that we are going to faithfully follow that regulation and Director Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately", said Rosenstein.

NBC had to give its audience a brief primer on the scandal the week before the House voted to hold then-attorney general Eric Holder in contempt for withholding documents because NBC's audience had been kept totally in the dark for 18 months.

Democratic senators expressed frustration with Sessions on several occasions. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow", the Justice Department said. The Justice Department has denied such a meeting occurred.

"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".

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.

Those calls have escalated since fired FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers last week that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.

Sessions said that the move to step away from oversight of the probe was not because of his actions or meetings with the Russian ambassador; instead, he pointed to his position as chair of the Trump campaign's national security committee.

Franken, however, called Sessions testimony on Tuesday "very unsettling" and tore into Sessions and other Trump administration officials for appearing "unconcerned" by the fact that the Kremlin sought to influence the 2016 presidential election. According to Mr Comey, Mr Sessions did not verbally respond to his plea. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty".

Even before Sessions testified, attention in Washington swiveled to whether Trump might seek to fire Robert Mueller, named last month by the Justice Department to head a federal probe into the Russian Federation issue.

The Justice Department pushed back immediately on Comey's statement last week. "But that in itself is not problematic".

"It is really unclear what he is going to say, and I am a little bit surprised because in the past, he has gotten into trouble when he said things and they turned out not to be entirely true", said Jens Ohlin, a professor of law at Cornell University. Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after the revelations of the two Kislyak meetings. Comey was leading that probe.

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