AG Jeff Sessions curious use of executive privilege -- for Trump

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters later that Trump thought Sessions "did a very good job" and was especially "strong" on denying any collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. "There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising.

While delivering a steady stream of questions to Sessions about the Trump administration colluding with Russia, Harris was instructed by McCain - who can be heard off camera - to let Sessions answer the question.

Wyden responded: "He said it's "problematic" and I asked you what was problematic about it".

Sessions is the most senior member of President Donald Trump's administration caught up in the controversy over whether associates of the president colluded with Russian Federation to help Trump win the election.

"I believe it was the next day that [Comey] said something, expressed concern, about being left alone with the president", Sessions said.

There's just one problem: Trump never invoked that right, known as "executive privilege" - a fact that Sessions himself admitted several times throughout the course of the hearing. Angus King, I-Maine, that he has not read the consensus report from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian meddling and has not sought any briefings.

Following the heated exchange with Wyden, Sessions repeatedly said he was not aware of any undisclosed meetings between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government.

"Our judgment, as I recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons", Comey said.

"He wouldn't answer the most basic question under oath". But under questioning, Sessions acknowledged that Trump's campaign foreign policy advisers "never functioned as a coherent team" and there were members of that group he never met.

The probe over the possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation is now in the hands of special counsel Bob Mueller following the Comey dismissal.

Sessions told the senators he has confidence in Mueller but said he had "no idea" if Trump did because he had not spoken to the president about the matter. Sessions also said he did not know if the president has tapes of his meetings, including those with Mr. Comey.

Comey testified he did not tell Sessions Trump had asked him to drop a probe into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation because he suspected Sessions would soon need to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Lawmakers grilled Sessions about his role in Comey's firing, his own involvement in the Trump campaign and his meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.

However, Sessions refused to say whether he ever spoke with Trump about firing Comey.

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

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