Sessions denies 'false and scurrilous allegations'

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported, encounter with Kislyak, at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech. He vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

Throughout the beginning of his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions seemed to keep his cool as senators asked about whether he had colluded with Russian officials and whether he recalled meetings with the Russian ambassador.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never had conversations with FBI Director James Comey about his job performance before Comey's firing.

The attorney general has recused himself from the Russia investigation - a decision he sought to cast on Tuesday as resulting from his role on the Trump campaign, rather than because of any inappropriate interaction with Russian officials.

"Sen. Wyden, I am not stonewalling", Sessions said.

That was the context in which I was asked the question and in that context it was a fair and accurate response to the charge as I understood it. Faced with statements by President Trump that he fired Comey in part because of the Russian Federation probe, Sessions stood by his argument that Comey had earned negative reviews due to the "stunning" way he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying Comey never should have spoken publicly about it during the 2016 election campaign. But his former Democratic colleagues pressed him repeatedly on his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.

Even with his recusal from the investigation, Sessions made it clear he was going to defend himself against the allegations.

After it was reported that the attorney general held an undisclosed meeting with Russian officials, he recused himself from the Russia probe. People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest about matters and I've tried to be honest.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) interrupted Sessions' testimony several times, while the attorney general refused to respond with blanket statements.

"Can you please tell me what you mean when you say 'appropriate?'" Harris shot back. "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. I appreciate the Committee's critically important efforts to investigate Russian interference with our.

"The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian Federation investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation", said Sen.

"No, I don't believe I ever did", Sessions said. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically". "I knew him before that, and I have confidence in Mr. Mueller". I did not attend any meetings at that event.

On another hot-button issue, Sen. But Sessions added that Comey did not tell him the substance of the conversation he had with Trump. Sessions said: "It did not violate my recusal". I knew him before that.

Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting.

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