Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to comment Tuesday on whether he spoke to President Donald Trump about former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential race. Kamala Harris' tense exchange with Sessions, with IJR's Jason Howerton taking liberals to task for suggesting that racism had played a role in Chairman Richard Burr's interruptions of her.

Throughout the questioning, Sessions defended himself and refused to discuss any details of conversations he has had with President Trump.

He said he never met with, or had conversations with, Russians about election interference.

KING: I'm not talking about the campaign.

Trump has expressed frustration with Sessions, one of his earliest high-profile campaign backers, but the attorney general's steely demeanor showed he was prepared to push back against outside criticism. "As such, I have no knowledge about this investigation as it is ongoing today beyond what has been publicly reported", Sessions said.

Rubio asked Sessions about the changes that were mysteriously made to the Republican platform with respect to Ukraine, a key element of suspicion in the Russian Federation matter.

Investigations are now underway into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sessions requested an open hearing, though he made clear in his opening remarks and several times during his testimony that there were some things he would not discuss, including confidential conversations with the president.

Democratic senators have seized on the possibility of a third meeting to suggest that Sessions has not been forthcoming about the extent of his communications with the ambassador.

In his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions - the U.S.'s chief law enforcement officer - told Sen. In a trial, where a judge presides and ensures that lawyers don't play unfair games, the lawyers know they are not supposed to ask questions in front of the jury that will induce the witness to refuse to answer.

"The Judiciary Committee is responsible for oversight of the Justice Department and one of the issues here does involve the ability of the Justice Department to conduct a fair investigation into the matter", said Davis.

"Our committee will want to hear what you are doing to ensure that the Russians - or any other foreign adversaries - can not attack our democratic process like this ever again".

Sklansky: I think he probably raised his stock with President Trump and his close circle, but I doubt he won over any skeptics.

Schake: Yes, he had a choice, although refusing would have made it hard for him to achieve much of what an attorney general needs from the Congress - and, ironically, the manner of his testimony I think left him in the same place, having alienated Congress. But his former Democratic colleagues pressed him repeatedly on his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.

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. Sessions says he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump and members of Sessions' staff also were there.

Astonishingly, Sessions asserted that nothing is "problematic" about Trump pulling the FBI director into a private meeting amid an investigation involving his campaign. She then brought up the president's interview with NBC Nightly News, in which Trump acknowledged that Comey's dismissal was related to the Russian Federation probe.

Sessions said it would be "inappropriate" for him to reveal private conversations with Trump when the president "has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer".

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act".

Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting.

It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway. "But that in itself is not problematic". I.e. Jim, looks like you've got this in hand.

Ron Wyden aggressively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions on just what former FBI Director James Comey thought was "problematic" about Sessions that would ultimately lead to his recusal in the federal Russian Federation probe.

Sessions says he recommended Comey's firing after a number of concerns about his job performance.

He did not explicitly endorse Sessions' appearance, saying in response to a question, "We're aware of it, and we'll go from there".

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