7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions testimony

7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions testimony

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies about the Russian Federation probe at an opening hearing conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

"To suggest that I participated in any collusion is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions told the committee.

When asked by Cotton whether the collusion of a sitting United States senator and a foreign ambassador would ever appear in one of these "fantastical situations", like a clandestine meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, Sessions used another literary reference to demonstrate what he sees as the ridiculousness of such a theory.

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.

"I find it deeply problematic given that Trump's stated reason for firing Comey was the Russian Federation investigation, a matter on which Sessions appropriately recused himself", Rhode told LawNewz.com. 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. Many questions aimed at Sessions had to do with Comey's firing by President Donald Trump.

Sessions is enmeshed in multiple lines of ongoing inquiry: He had meetings with Russian officials that later forced him to recuse himself from the Justice Department's probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

"I do not have confidence in him as Attorney General but I think what I especially don't have confidence in him being there and possibly meddling in the investigation of the involvement of Russian Federation", said Leahy. Last week, she was trying to get a "yes or no" answer from Rosenstein on whether he'd reinstate a Bush-era special prosecutor policy that would ensure that President Trump couldn't fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

"With no evidence of collusion, wrongdoing, or obstruction of justice by President Trump or the White House, how much longer is this going to go on", said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, praising Sessions's "honesty and professionalism".

Wyden asked the attorney general about the former FBI Director James Comey's comments on Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

But, more than that, it was an echo of Director Comey's testimony also that the president showed no curiosity, no interest, no concern over the Russian Federation hack. I'll answer it in closed session.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event.

"I was your colleague in this body for 20 years", Sessions said. An order from the president would not necessarily qualify, he said. Leahy says Sessions gave false testimony to the Judiciary Committee about his own contact with Russian officials.

Harris followed up, "Sir, I am not asking about you the principle".

Following the hearing, a White House spokeswoman said Trump "has no intention" of dismissing Mueller.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department announced that the Justice Department analyzed the intelligence material in an attempt to corroborate whether or not Sessions met with Kislyak at Mayflower Hotel.

Rhode argued that Sessions' recusal should have extended to Comey's firing.

But Sessions has not addressed this issue directly, nor broader questions about his relationship with Comey.

Democratic senators pressed Sessions 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. He insisted he would not discuss his conversations with Mr Trump even though the president had not invoked his executive privilege to prevent such testimony. It began over the weekend when Trump's lawyer wouldn't rule it out; then his associate Newt Gingrich appeared to call for it, as did some conservative commentators; Trump's friend Chris Ruddy said he was actually considering it.

"You said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth", Heinrich told Sessions.

He also said Comey should have shared his concerns about the Trump conversation with another Justice Department official, Dana Boente, who was then acting deputy attorney general, and would have been Comey's direct supervisor.

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