Tillerson says American Otto Warmbier released from North Korea

Tillerson says American Otto Warmbier released from North Korea

Tillerson says American Otto Warmbier released from North Korea

The Senate's Russia investigation is back in the news today as Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes the stand to testify before the Intelligence Committee on all things Donald Trump, Russia, and former FBI Director James Comey. Comey testified that he decided not to report the president's request to Sessions at the time, because the attorney general was weighing his recusal from all matters related to the Russia investigation - largely for his failure to acknowledge two previous meetings with the Russian ambassador during his January confirmation hearing - and for other "facts" the former director said he could not disclose in a public session.

Sessions said he recused himself from the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation to require the step because of his involvement in the Trump campaign.

Senator Franken asked me a rambling question after some six hours of testimony that included dramatic, new allegations that the United States intelligence community, the USA intelligence community, had advised President-elect Trump that "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump's surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government".

Senators for weeks have demanded answers from Mr Sessions, particularly about meetings he had last summer and autumn with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Sessions is expected to face sharp questions from his former Senate colleagues about his role in FBI Director James Comey's firing, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to step aside from the investigation involving Moscow and the Trump campaign. He was previously slated to meet behind closed doors with Congress to discuss his department's budget - an appearance he's now delegated to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules.

The Justice Department has responded, citing the need to follow "appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House". Trump and White House officials have also claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was in disarray, a contention that Comey disputed.

But the revelations forced Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March, and it is now being handled by a special counsel.

Rosenstein said that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he will "defend the integrity" of the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the US elections.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime" in North Korea, Warmbier's parents said.

Asked about media reports that he had met with Kislyak on a third occasion at a Washington hotel a year ago, Sessions testified that did not remember meeting or having a conversation with the ambassador at the event.

Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he consults with a career ethics official when questions arise about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.

However, Sessions refused to say whether he ever spoke with Trump about firing Comey. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign", Sessions said. The president said he is willing to testify under oath on these points.

Whether executive privilege is invoked "depends on the scope of the questions", White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday.

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