Atty. Gen. Sessions to face sharp questions on Russia contacts

Atty. Gen. Sessions to face sharp questions on Russia contacts

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Congress would not sit still if President Donald Trump made a decision to fire the special counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign.

Senators want to get Sessions' take on all this. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow".

Attorney General Sessions was originally going to testify before the Senate Committee on Appropriations this Tuesday.

"You might have been very critical of me if I, as an active part of the campaign, was seeking intelligence relating to something that might be relevant to the campaign", Sessions said. Later, in a closed session, Comey reportedly told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. was aware of a potential third, undisclosed meeting Sessions had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Invoking of executive privilege for administration employees is typically formally announced by the attorney general, but it's not exactly clear who would make the formal announcement for Sessions, said Michael Bahar, former Democratic staff director for the House intelligence committee and former White House lawyer.

Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), keeps the political spotlight on the Russian Federation issue, sidelining President Donald Trump's domestic agenda.

Whatever they are, they're "facts that I can't discuss in an open setting", Comey said. But the revelations prompted Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he did not have third meeting with the Russian ambassador to the United States. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here". "I wanted to refute that immediately".

On Wednesday, Comey released his planned opening statement to the committee which included his request of Sessions that the attorney general "prevent any future direct communication" between himself and Trump.

Sessions stepped aside from the Russian Federation probe on March 2.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

The stakes for Tuesday's hearing could be high. Comey was sacked by Trump on May 9. At the same time, the White House is desperately counting on Sessions to confirm its side of the story.

"I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime", Sessions wrote. Don't leave us alone like that.

California Sen. Kamala Harris asked Comey for more detail about this scene when he appeared last week.

Also, the two were together on issues like immigration and trade when, at the time, Sessions was often a voice in the wilderness among other Senate Republicans.

"I don't remember real clearly", Comey answered.

"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 contacts with the White House, Sessions said.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.

"Mr. Comey said there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them".

"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", Sessions added.

"I'm not talking about the campaign, I'm talking about what the Russians did", King responded.

Rosenstein told the panel he had seen no evidence of good cause for letting Mueller go, and that lacking such evidence he would not follow any theoretical order to fire him.

Depending on the extent of what Sessions is willing to discuss on Tuesday, he and King could have a similar exchange. "You swore an oath".

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