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

  • Comey Testimony Hysterics Perfectly Summed Up in 5 Hilarious Cartoons

    James Lankford, R-Okla., argued that the president's actions did not rise to the level of obstruction. Are you kidding me? Think of it: I hardly know the man, it doesn't make sense.
    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.
    Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Bears Ears

    Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Bears Ears

    He also suggests working with Congress to enable Native American tribes to co-manage cultural areas. Part One of our conversation about Secretary Zinke's Bears Ears recommendation.
  • 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.
    'North and South Korea could host World Cup'

    'North and South Korea could host World Cup'

    Ahn said it would draw, at the very least, much more severe sanctions, even from its main economic supporter China. North Korea called the system a provocation aimed at bolstering USA military hegemony in the region.
    First lady Melania Trump, Barron finally move to White House

    First lady Melania Trump, Barron finally move to White House

    Melania Trump had continued living in Trump Tower in NY while Barron Trump , 11, finished the academic year at his NY school. Melania is the first First Lady in modern history to delay her arrival in Washington after an election win .
  • 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.

    Heated exchange between Sen. Wyden, Attorney General Sessions

    On Tuesday, Attorney General Sessions insisted his response to Franken, when viewed in context, was accurate. He has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak .
    Door open for United Kingdom  till Brexit negotiations are done: French President Macron

    Door open for United Kingdom till Brexit negotiations are done: French President Macron

    As a singer dressed in uniform and playing a guitar started singing, the pockets of England fans joined in, some with their arms raised.
  • Coolest iOS 11 features launched for the iPad

    Coolest iOS 11 features launched for the iPad

    According to marketing data firm Sensor Tower , the bogus app delivers more or less US$80,000 each month in revenue. In-app tips have generated controversy for Apple , particularly in dealing with app developers from China.
    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.
    Cristiano Ronaldo accused of tax fraud by Spanish state prosecutor

    Cristiano Ronaldo accused of tax fraud by Spanish state prosecutor

    However, Ronaldo's case is much more serious than his Barcelona rival and three times greater in value than Messi's. Real Madrid declined to comment and calls to the agency representing Ronaldo , Gestifute , went unanswered.

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.