Top 8 lines from Jeff Sessions' hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't answer a number of questions from senators during his testimony on Tuesday - but he didn't invoke executive privilege to avoid doing so.

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".

Similar to former FBI Director James Comey, who testified before the same committee last week, Sessions came out ready to defend himself.

Sessions, a senior member of Republican President Donald Trump's Cabinet and an adviser to his presidential campaign past year, testified about his conversations with Russian officials and whether he intentionally misled Congress, as the Senate Intelligence Committee probes the Russia matter.

"He didn't recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy regarding appropriate contacts with the White House", Sessions said.

He 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.

"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", he said, stressing this was not the case. "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice". The attorney general is sure to be asked about those meetings, as well as media reports that Sessions may have held a third meeting with Russian government officials before taking office. But many Democrats have accused Sessions of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee during his January confirmation hearing.

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

"We asked them relevant questions and they basically said "We don't feel like answering" and that's not going to be acceptable (with Sessions)", said Wyden. "I only know what I've read in the paper", Sessions told Sen. There are none, Sen. "There are none, Sen Wyden, there are none", Mr Sessions insisted, his voice rising.

"This is a secret innuendo out being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", Sessions said.

Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.

Testifying before a Senate appropriations committee on Tuesday, Rosenstein said that Mueller has his full support and could only be fired "for good cause".

Sen. Mark Warner, D., Va., asked the attorney general if he had confidence in former FBI Director Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to probe whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify. The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee gave Sessions a chance to defend himself, but offered little new insight.

"I saw that as an absolute distraction - I think this president has been terrific at throwing up smoke screens and distractions - and that's exactly what I thought that was", said Sidlow. Sessions says Comey firing was all about Clinton emails. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

Sessions recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked whether Trump had expressed any frustration with Sessions about his decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Before he became attorney general, Sessions served two decades as a Republican senator from Alabama.

Sessions, a top Trump campaign surrogate, recused himself from the FBI's Russian Federation investigation in March, a day after The Washington Post reported that he had had at least two undisclosed meetings with Kislyak during the election - once during the Republican National Convention and again in his office in September.

The attorney general has acknowledged two meetings previous year with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

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