Jeff Sessions testifies: What to expect from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Jeff Sessions testifies: What to expect from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Sessions will testify publicly Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hastily scheduled hearing just days after Comey last week accused Trump of lying about his dismissal and pressuring him to end an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

He recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the ambassador.

According to Politico, Sessions is sending Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the public briefing and will instead speak to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on Tuesday afternoon in a closed session.

The Justice Department ultimately agreed to a Tuesday public hearing in an attempt to show there's nothing to hide and nothing controversial about Sessions' interactions with Russian officials, officials said.

Spicer is also refusing to say whether tapes exist of the president's conversations with FBI Director James Comey before Trump fired him. He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

That's a sign that even with the renewed scrutiny on the Comey-Russia crisis, the impact to Sessions's agenda and Justice Department operations could be minimal, said Andrew Kent, a law professor at Fordham University in NY.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says testimony from former FBI Director James Comey "reflected very poorly on members of the Obama administration as well".

While several committee members, including Dianne Feinstein, Susan Collins, and Angus King had voiced support for a public hearing, other members have complained that doing so will inevitably lead to a brick wall, where Sessions will say he can not discuss certain matters in public.

"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum", Sessions wrote over the weekend.

Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.

In addition to clarifying his role in Comey's firing, lawmakers will want Sessions to recount what he remembers of a February 14 meeting in the Oval Office, during which Comey said the attorney general and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner were asked to leave the room so the president could speak with his Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. Comey was leading that probe.

The former senator later issued a clarification saying he had met with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

Several Republican lawmakers also criticized Comey for disclosing memos he had written in the aftermath of his private conversations with Trump, calling that action "inappropriate". Feinstein is the top Democrat on that panel and a member of both.

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