Sessions will testify in open hearing before Senate Intelligence Committee

The appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday afternoon may lack the hearing-of-the-century theatrics surrounding former FBI Director James Comey. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge.

Last week, Comey reportedly told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a classified session that there was a third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak that Sessions did not disclose-uncovered by monitoring conversations between Russians based in D.C. and Moscow.

Key Qs for Sessions: Did Trump ask him to leave him w Comey?

During a White House meeting on Monday, cabinet members, including Sessions, offered a chorus of flattery for the president despite the crises buffeting the administration.

Sessions has denied that any of his contact with Kislyak involved discussions about the Trump campaign, and he has explained that as a member of the Senate, as he then was, he dealt often with foreign emissaries as part of his normal work.

As for Comey's firing, Sessions told senators that his recommendation had nothing to do with the Russian Federation probe, that he and his second-in-command, 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".

"I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible", Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR aggressively asked Sessions about suggestions arising from Comey's testimony last week that there was something "problematic" about his recusal.

Those calls have escalated since fired FBI Director James Comey cryptically told lawmakers on Thursday that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election.

Tuesday's testimony will be the first for Sessions in a congressional hearing since he became attorney general.

"As such", he said, "I have no knowledge about this investigation, as it is ongoing today, beyond what has been publicly reported".

"I am not sure he is the best performer under questioning from fellow senators".

In response to Comey's testimony, Sessions issued a statement contradicting some of what Comey said.

"I urge that the Committee hold a hearing with the Attorney General in the open so that the American people can hear for themselves what he has to say with regard to connections to the Russians and the President's abuse of power", his letter stated. Sessions had to step back from that probe after it was revealed he'd lied in his confirmation testimony when he said he hadn't met with any Russians.

Comey said Sessions was one of the last people to exit the Oval Office, noting: "My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving which is why he was lingering".

Democratic senators pressed him on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege around the hearing. I think it is a reasonable question.

Tuesday's hearing may also throw new light on the awkward state of the relationship between Trump and Sessions.

On Monday, in a odd photo op, members of Trump's Cabinet lavished praise on the President, who has struggled to extricate himself from the Russian Federation cloud over his White House.

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