Sessions to face sharp questions from Senate panel on Russia contacts

"I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials", he said.

Sessions, in opening remarks before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the election to help President Donald Trump win, said he made a decision to remove himself from oversight of the criminal investigation of the Russian interference because of rules at the Justice Department prohibiting his involvement because he was a key campaign adviser to Trump.

He said he had met twice with Kislyak - once during the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office - and that he did not disclose that during his confirmation hearing. Comey said Sessions said nothing, and that his body language indicated that there was nothing he could do about it.

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.

Rubio asked Sessions about the changes that were mysteriously made to the Republican platform with respect to Ukraine, a key element of suspicion in the Russian Federation matter.

Harris: Sir, I'm just asking you about the DOJ policy you referred to.

SESSIONS: I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power, and I have no power to.

His impassioned response came after Senate Democrats raised questions about whether Sessions privately met with Sergey Kislyak at an April 2016 foreign policy event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The deputy attorney general, a civil servant, assured a congressional committee he would resist an unwarranted dismissal order: "I'm not going to follow any order unless I believe they are lawful and appropriate orders".

Sessions denied having secret meetings with Russian officials, but also repeatedly refused to answer questions on whether he spoke privately to President Donald Trump about the inquiry.

"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", Sessions added. "Now you're not answering questions".

A report in The New York Times said the president had indeed weighed the possibility, was dissuaded by staff, and has since landed on the idea of simply pressuring Mueller by letting him know he could be fired.

Republicans said it appears Democrats don't care about this anymore, ever since Comey said the president himself was not under investigation for election collusion.

It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway. "The basis for this historical practice is laid out in the 1982 memos from President Reagan and then-Assistant Attorney General Olson". It's just beyond my capability to understand, and I really appreciate, Mr. Chairman, the opportunity to at least to be able to say publicly I didn't participate in that and know nothing about it. Yet Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) confronted Sessions with the fact that a year ago he had praised Comey for the way he had handled the Clinton investigation. That sounds sinister. But Sessions offered a not-that-different account. Comey testified that he told Sessions he was uncomfortable about meeting alone with the president, and Sessions merely shrugged as if to say, What can I do?

That's what Arkansas Republican Sen. King was incredulous to learn how little Sessions says he knew about the intelligence on Russian meddling in the US election. But he said that he was unable to say whether he had discussed Comey's handling of the FBI investigation on the principle that his conversations with the President should be kept confidential. "It is absurd, frankly", he said, "to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render an attorney general unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations". Rosenstein said he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. They have gone down lots of other rabbit trails but not that question.

Comey himself had a riveting appearance before the same Senate panel last week, with some key moments centered on Sessions.

Recommended News

  • Montana's Gianforte avoids jail time for reporter assault

    Montana's Gianforte avoids jail time for reporter assault

    Gianforte is expected to travel to Washington within the next few weeks to be sworn in by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Work programs, which cut the time of a sentence in half, are not an option in assault cases, however.
    US President Donald Trump slams 'cowardly' ex-FBI director James Comey

    US President Donald Trump slams 'cowardly' ex-FBI director James Comey

    The assertion that the president is a major league liar is hard to dispute, but being caught in a lie has never hurt Mr. Comey repeatedly met with Trump despite his misgivings that Trump allegedly pressured him to let Flynn walk.
    May fighting to hang on after gamble fails

    May fighting to hang on after gamble fails

    When the votes came in, Parliament was divided (or "hung") with no single party holding the majority of seats. The DUP, which May referred to as her "friends", was non-committal in its initial remarks.
  • Video to form three-quarters of mobile traffic by 2022

    Video to form three-quarters of mobile traffic by 2022

    By the end of 2022, total smartphone mobile data traffic will have increased 9X, reaching 66 ExaBytes per month. Ericsson estimates around 29 billion connected devices by 2022, out of which 18 billion will be related to IoT.

    Dem Senator Tells Jeff Sessions That He's 'Impeding' the Investigation

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer arrives for the daily briefing at the White House in Washington , Monday, June 12, 2017. This time , however, the nation was watching as Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
    Mattis blames Congress for poor state of US combat readiness

    Mattis blames Congress for poor state of US combat readiness

    Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of a motorcycle bomb explosion in front of the Jami Mosque in Herat on June 6, 2017. This is 11 percent less than the military held around the same time in 2016.
  • Pyongyang warns S Korean President of 'brain-washing' by US

    Pyongyang warns S Korean President of 'brain-washing' by US

    The South Korean Defense Ministry on Tuesday released this photo, taken Friday, of a suspected North Korean drone. South Korea and the United States say the system is aimed exclusively at defending against North Korean missiles.
    Focus Brexit on economy, Scottish Conservatives urge British PM

    Focus Brexit on economy, Scottish Conservatives urge British PM

    Ms Davidson is also among Tories raising concerns about Ms May's potential partner, the DUP, and the party's record on gay rights. But the Conservatives failed to win 326 seats in the general election - the number needed to have an outright majority.
    Fans already lining up for Penguins' Stanley Cup parade

    Fans already lining up for Penguins' Stanley Cup parade

    As part of the Expansion Draft rules, teams must protect any player with a no-movement clause. Reality, however, may start to climb back in for fans now that the expansion draft is near.
  • May seeks to rally party lawmakers behind her leadership

    The deal also prompted Irish premier Enda Kenny to warn that such an alliance could upset Northern Ireland's fragile peace. Davis also said walking away without securing a deal with the remaining 27 European Union states remained a possibility.
    Sharing Wi-Fi Passwords More Easily with iOS 11

    Sharing Wi-Fi Passwords More Easily with iOS 11

    The renders do not leave space for it, so they are likely different from what the OS will look like in actual. The new iPad Pro also debuts the firm's ProMotion technology that doubles the maximum refresh rate to 120Hz.
    Ostapenko wins; Nadal vs. Wawrinka in final

    Ostapenko wins; Nadal vs. Wawrinka in final

    Her coach, Darren Cahill, said it would have been a "nice bonus" but that this possibility did not add stress to her preparations. To make it a doubly hard day for the 25-year-old, the defeat meant she also missed out on becoming world number one.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.