Sessions to face questions on Russia, Comey

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, fiercely maintaining he did nothing wrong in meeting twice with the Russian ambassador to the US during President Trump's 2016 campaign and also infuriating Democrats by refusing to detail any conversations he has had with the president.

Defiantly adding this: "I recused myself from any investigation into the campaigns for president, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false accusations".

Sessions has been under political fire as he recused himself from the investigation, and then in May recommended firing FBI director James Comey.

Testifying last week, Comey said after that "disturbing" private talk with Trump, he went to the attorney general and told Sessions "it can't happen that you get kicked out of the room and the president talks to me".

"I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States".

Asked about Trump's own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves".

Sessions in March stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with Kislyak in his capacity as a USA senator. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about the two meetings with Kislyak.

Sessions got angry again when Wyden pressed Sessions to explain what facts might be "problematic "about his involvement in the Russian Federation probe, as Comey suggested". Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies called "tradecraft"?

"I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower hotel", he told the panel. "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. It's just beyond my capability to understand, and I really appreciate Mr. Chairman, the opportunity to, at least, be able to say publicly I didn't participate in that and know nothing about it.

As for his role in Mr Comey's sacking, Mr Sessions told senators that he and his second-in-command, Rod Rosenstein, had a "clear view ... that we had problems there, and it was my best judgment that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the appropriate thing to do".

With precision and accuracy Tuesday, Mr. Sessions noted how Mr. Franken had larded his question with bamboozling charges about "compromising personal information" the Russians had supposedly collected about Mr. Trump.

Rosenstein wrote a memo to Sessions on Comey, which was then used by the administration to justify firing the director for his handling of the Clinton case. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for the second time in a week on Tuesday as she pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss a policy he cited to avoid answering other questions. Sessions said he would not discuss confidential communications with the president.

This was among the many times Sessions attempted to explain that he is protecting the President's right to choose to invoke executive privilege in not sharing the details of conversations.

Senators will surely ask Sessions about these threads and others, but it is not clear how forthcoming he will be.

The testimony by Sessions marked the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged the Republican Trump's first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives.

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. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked Sessions whether Trump records his conversations in the White House. "I don't know, Sen".

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