7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

In that regard, Sessions confirmed many aspects of what Comey had to say.

In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Mr Sessions also contradicted a contention made by former FBI Director James Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.

Any suggestion I participated in, or was aware of, collusion with Russians is "appalling and detestable lie".

After that meeting, Comey said, he told Sessions he did not want to be left alone with Trump, because he didn't think it was appropriate for the president and the Federal Bureau of Investigation director to have such private meetings. He also asked why Sessions recused himself from oversight of the FBI's Russian Federation probe and wanted to know what role it played in Comey's dismissal. And he advised the president as much, mainly for the way Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Wyden noted Comey had said it was "problematic" for Sessions to oversee the Russian Federation probe, for reasons he did not explain in a public setting. "They don't decide prosecution".

Sessions told Trump he was "honored" to be able to serve him. He added that, "to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation" would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI would be "absurd".

-He denied that he recused himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation because he wasn't forthcoming about Russian Federation meetings.

Pressure had been building on Sessions to speak openly before the Senate committee since before last week's momentous testimony by FBI Director James Comey, who was sacked by Trump on May 9.

Senators will surely ask Sessions about these threads and others, but it is not clear how forthcoming he will be.

"Well, Sen. Wyden, he did not say that", Sessions said. Ron Wyden, who also had a testy exchange with Sessions, told Gizmodo he agreed with Heinrich's assessment that the attorney general was impeding the panel's investigation. "There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none". "People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I've tried to be honest". "Now you're not answering questions".

"Thank you for saying that, Sen. It's something that we both agreed to that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probably the best thing", Sessions said of his conversations with Rosenstein regarding replacing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director before Comey was sacked.

The attorney general's testimony comes days after Comey told congressional investigators that FBI leaders expected Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation before the attorney general's March announcement, however, he declined to publicly say what led to that assessment.

"We may have discussed that", Sessions said.

The Kremlin, which has repeatedly denied the U.S. accusations about election interference, has threatened retaliatory measures if new sanctions go forward, including seizing U.S. Embassy property in Moscow.

Sessions replied, "I am not stonewalling. Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged".

Harris was questioning Sessions about policies from the Department of Justice he was citing as the reason he was unable to answer certain questions during his testimony.

The exchange raises questions about why Sessions, who showed little interest in Russian Federation while he was a senator, met with Kislyak at all during the election.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) pressed Sessions to explain how he could decline to answer questions about his talks with the president without the White House asserting executive privilege.

During the hearing, King said Sessions was "selective" about discussing some conversations Sessions had with the president, but not others.

In his opening remarks, Sessions said he knew of no conversations between Trump campaign individuals and Russian officials about interfering in the United States election.

Mr Sessions argued that in the context of the hearing, "my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it".

"A very simple question that should be asked is did Donald Trump or any of his associates in the campaign collude with Russian Federation in hacking those e-mails and releasing them to the public?" the Arkansas Republican said during Sessions' hearing before the panel.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions said.

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