Sen. Franken Tells Sessions to 'Stop Misleading Americans'

Testifying at a Senate hearing, Sessions said it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest that he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Comey himself had a riveting appearance before the same Senate panel last week, with some key moments centered on Sessions.

Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of several congressional panels also investigating the Russian Federation matter, was scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), the latest chapter in a saga that has clouded the Republican president's domestic agenda.

While the Justice Department has said Sessions recused himself in March because of his involvement in Trump's campaign, Comey testified that the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew of information that would have made it "problematic" for Sessions to be involved. In an exchange with California Senator Kamala Harris, Comey declared he was "not. aware of" ever being notified by Sessions on the "parameters of his recusal".

The reason the deputy attorney general is in charge is his boss has recused himself.

Reports later surfaced Sessions had met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when he was a campaign surrogate for Trump.

After admitting Mr Trump had not invoked privilege, Mr Sessions was accused of "stonewalling" by Democratic senator Ron Wyden.

WYDEN: He said it was problematic and I asked you what was problematic about it. There are none, Sen.

"Well, Sen. Wyden, he did not say that", Sessions said.

"I may have had some conversations and I think I did, with the general strategic concept of the possibility of whether or not Russian Federation and the United States could get on a more harmonious relationship, " he said, adding that it was "tragic" that the two countries could not get along on better terms.

Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.

Appearing before the senate appropriations sub-committee in Washington on Tuesday, Mr Rosenstein said that Mr Mueller would be given the independence needed to do his job.

Rosenstein said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.

When Wyden accused him of not answering the questions about Comey's reported remark that his behavior after recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe was "problematic", Sessions chuckled and then launched into his most theatrical defense of his actions.

"If President Trump ordered you to fire Special Counsel Mueller, what would you do?" asked Sen. The Justice Department has said that while Sessions was there, for a speech by Trump, there were no meetings or private encounters. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.) grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday about his private discussions with President Donald Trump and whether they were covered by executive privilege.

"I'm not able to invoke executive privilege, that's the President's prerogative", Sessions reiterated.

He's been hounded by speculation over the possibility of a third meeting, with Democratic senators calling for an investigation.

On another hot-button issue, Sen.

The Justice Department has responded, citing the need to follow "appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House".

The attorney general said there were some things he couldn't talk about because of long standing policies about keeping communications with the president confidential.

"The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian Federation investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation", said Sen.

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