Sessions testifies he was never briefed on Russian interference in election

Members of the Democratic faction within the Senate Intelligence Committee meant to press the former Alabama senator not just on any interactions he had with Russian officials, but his conversations with Donald Trump both pre- and post-election that could implicate any collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin.

When Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), pressed Sessions for more information after fired FBI Director James Comey told the committee last week there were "problematic" reasons why Sessions needed to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling, Sessions responded with perhaps the most memorable line of his testimony.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted his critics during heated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

However, Comey also referred to facts he couldn't discuss in an open setting that would have called into question Sessions' involvement in any Russia-related investigations had he not recused himself.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he could not elaborate on.

As did other senators, Harris was questioning Sessions about his legal basis for refusing to answer questions.

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

"And I'm trying to give my best recusal answer in committees I've appeared before, and really people are suggesting through innuendo that I have not been honest about matters, and I'm trying to be honest".

In his testimony last week, Comey said he and Trump had a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14 about the investigation into the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

"If there were good cause I would consider it", said Mr Rosenstein. They also asked if he held a secret meeting with the Russian ambassador without disclosing it to investigators.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said Ruddy had not spoken to Trump about the issue and that only the president or his attorneys were authorized to speak about it.

Sessions never heard Trump show any interest in Russian hacking before the inauguration. He would not say that he was ordered out of the room as Comey testified last week.

"Let me state this clearly, colleagues: I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States".

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions replied, saying he was simply following Justice Department policy not to discuss confidential communications with the president.

Warner asked Sessions if he was evoking executive privilege. "I was taken aback by that explosive allegation". The Justice Department has denied such a meeting occurred. Sessions also said he did not know if the president has tapes of his meetings, including those with Mr. Comey. But Sessions said he had no recollection of that.

Sessions' dodges were similar to those of NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, both of whom refused to answer questions about conversations with the president in their testimonies last week.

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