Sessions to face sharp questions on Russian Federation contacts

-United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face questions on Tuesday about his dealings with Russian officials and whether he intentionally misled Congress as a Senate panel investigates the Kremlin's alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Democratic senators repeatedly criticized Sessions for dispatching Rosenstein to testify Tuesday in his place about the Justice Department's budget to an Appropriations subcommittee. As a U.S attorney in 1986, Sessions faced allegations of racially charged remarks, and they cost him a federal judgeship.

And then an ally of President Donald Trump suggested the President is thinking about firing the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation issue.

"Our judgment, as I recall, was that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons".

As Sessions entered the crowded hearing room, a swarm of news photographers clicked away with their cameras.

The committee can also work with the Trump administration to come up with a solution.

The committee's chairman, Republican Richard Burr, told Sessions the hearing was "your opportunity to separate fact from fiction" and "set the record straight on a number of allegations reported in the press".

In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Such a move would be complicated and potentially politically explosive.

"Public needs to know more about Sessions' Russia contacts & his role in Comey's firing", tweeted Sen.

The Senate Intelligence Committee expressed frustration last week with top intelligence officials when they refused to say whether Trump had asked them to interfere with the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, though they did not explicitly cite executive privilege.

Trump's tendency to bring up the Russian Federation investigation, whether by insulting Comey or hinting at the existence of tapes, has created a headache for Republicans who want to focus on the party's priorities such as healthcare and tax reform.

During closed-door testimony last week, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey reportedly told senators that Sessions had likely had a third, undisclosed meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

"Particularly when that left a person, director Comey, who on the organizational chart is subordinate to Sessions, creating the sense that there was something sinister to be discussed".

Questions have arisen about Sessions' own involvement in the Trump campaign and his meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US. Sessions and Kislyak met at least twice a year ago. Lawmakers have already aired many of their concerns about their former colleague - from his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.to his role in the firing of Comey.

Sessions will be the highest-ranking cabinet member to testify in Congress about the investigation into Donald Trump's campaign, Russia, and its alleged meddling with the 2016 election.

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

"There's a real question of the propriety of the attorney general participating in that in any way, shape or form", Reed said on "Fox News Sunday".

A Justice Department official told CNN on Sunday that department officials expected the hearing would be closed but said the final decision was up to the Senate committee.

Justice officials have strongly denied that such a meeting occurred.

A third participant in that meeting, White House senior adviser and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner volunteered in March to testify before the intelligence committee. Did you ask your deputy attorney general to write a memo recommending the firing of Comey?

In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Rosenstein offered assurances about Mueller. The bottom line is, I feel we would all like for the politicians to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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