Jeff Sessions denies secret meetings with Russia, calls it 'detestable lie'

Jeff Sessions denies secret meetings with Russia, calls it 'detestable lie'

For weeks, questions have swirled among lawmakers, reporters and others about classified intelligence suggesting Sessions hasn't come clean about all his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Sessions argued Tuesday that he did not perjure himself before the Senate by claiming these meetings did not occur, repeating his earlier defense he met with Kislyak as a senator, and he thought the question only referred to meetings held as a Trump campaign official. Sessions said they "talked about it", but admitted that he was not familiar with details of the department's policies.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. What happened when Sessions left the room, and Trump allegedly pressed Comey to end an investigation?

Speaking under oath in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr Sessions insisted the former FBI director's investigation into ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign played no part in his dismissal. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. But he said that he was unable to say whether he had discussed Comey's handling of the FBI investigation on the principle that his conversations with the President should be kept confidential.

"He didn't tell us the truth", Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told MSNBC Monday.

"No, I don't believe I ever did", Sessions said.

"My understanding of the legal standard", Heinrich said, "is you either answer the question - that's the best outcome".

Sessions said during his hearing he is not sure if he would be able to answer the questions in a closed session.

Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules. I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat.

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.

Using all the skills in filibustering and diversion that he learned in years as an Alabama senator, the Attorney General appeared to escape the hearing without major political damage. This was largely because Sessions declined to discuss his conversations with President Donald Trump about Trump's decision to fire Comey.

Sessions was sworn in February 9 but did not actually step away from the investigation until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed Kislyak meetings. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.

Though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian Ambassador or any other Russian officials.

Comey testified that in the privacy of the Oval Office, the President asked him to let the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn drop.

Andrew Wright, a professor at Savannah Law School and associate counsel under former President Barack Obama, said it was not unusual for government employees to refuse to discuss conversations with the president in order to preserve the right to invoke executive privilege later. "But that in itself is not problematic".

I was taken aback by these explosive allegations, which he said were being reported in breaking news that day. "I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice, and basically backed him up in his concerns".

Citing one example, Mr Sessions said it was "stunning" that the ex-FBI chief "usurped" the Department of Justice's authority by announcing that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing. "And when asked I said that to the president".

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