Sessions heatedly denies improper Russian Federation contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday he had no contact with Russian officials related to last year's USA presidential campaign and was not aware of anyone else in President Trump's campaign who did so.

Wyden then asked about Sessions' interactions with James Comey, the ex-FBI director fired by President Trump. Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.

Sessions said any suggestion that was party to Russian collusion is a "detestable lie".

"I do not" Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

"I. why don't you tell me?"

Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.

In his opening statement, Sessions also said he is bound to protect private communications with the president, suggesting he will not answer some questions about the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts past year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about the two meetings with Kislyak. The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on. Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians.

"I can not and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president", he said. Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings.

Sessions said he recused himself from the Justice Department's current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign.

Schiff says that if Trump fires Mueller, Congress might name its own independent counsel to investigate the case.

Sessions criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which the White House had initially cited as the ostensible reason for his firing.

Sessions refused to say whether he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he could not disclose private communications with the president.

In addition, lawmakers wanted Rosenstein to spell out the scope of Sessions's other recusal, specifically with regard to the Russia investigation, which Sessions announced after reports emerged that he had not fully disclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States. "Rubio, probably so", Sessions replied.

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