Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

"Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign", Sessions said.

"Gen. Sessions, respectfully you're not answering the question", Wyden said. Comey discussed a host of issues surrounding Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, though his remarks also raised questions that were directed at Sessions on Tuesday. "DOJ traditionally does not discuss ongoing investigations in public, but ultimately must answer questions unless executive privilege is properly invoked and upheld".

He says Comey's decision to announce the results of the investigation without Justice Department approval was "a stunning development" because "the FBI is the investigative team".

Sessions told Senator Jack Reed during his testimony today that the discussion about Comey's mishandling was "bipartisan", explaining, "Democrats were very unhappy about the way he conducted himself and in retrospect, in looking at it, I think it was more egregious than I may have even understood at the time".

Mr Comey said that, after an encounter with President Donald Trump in which he said Mr Trump pressured him to back off an investigation into the former national security adviser, Mr Comey "implored" Mr Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with the president again - but that Mr Sessions did not respond.

And asked about Mr Trump's own contention that he fired Mr Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Mr Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves".

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

"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. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.

"Well, some of that leaked out of the committee that he said in closed session", Sessions said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never had conversations with FBI Director James Comey about his job performance before Comey's firing.

Sessions said he was keeping Trump's options open for him.

Sessions is the most senior member of Trump's administration caught up in the controversy over whether associates of the president colluded with Russian Federation to help Trump win the election. He responded to questions regarding comments Monday from Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and a friend of Donald Trump, that Trump might fire Robert S. Mueller III. Trump later admitted to Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation. He added later: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause", which he said he would have to put in writing. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) questions about why, if he had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, he participated in Trump's decision to fire Comey, on May 9 (notably, the day after Yates's testimony about Flynn).

Amid the firestorm over Comey's dismissal, the Justice Department's Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into Russian election interference and any collusion by Trump aides. Rosenstein wrote a memo to Sessions on Comey, which was then used by the administration to justify firing the director for his handling of the Clinton case.

Later, Sessions was asked more pointedly by Sen. He later noted that it was up to Mueller to determine whether the issue might be part of his investigation, and he thought Mueller "ought to review that". "I do recall being one of the last ones to leave, I don't know how that occurred", he said.

"They seem to have collective amnesia about meeting with Russian officials during and after the campaign and only remember when they have been caught", Franken said. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

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