Top 8 lines from Jeff Sessions' hearing

Trump has also signaled his disappointment with Sessions in recent weeks, but for different reasons.

This isn't good enough for Rhode, however, because Sessions can't prove he was unaware of the president's reason for firing 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. What Sessions didn't explain is why he waited a month to tell the public - and his own associates - that he had stepped aside from the probe. Does he simply want to get his side of the story out following Comey's testimony?

The former Alabama senator put in a shaky performance under questioning from his former colleagues during his confirmation hearing. Sheldon Whitehouse, the top Democrat on a subcommittee of the Judiciary panel, said: "As someone who served in the Department of Justice, I would love to know what he is talking about".

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions told Sen. Trump confident Christopher Ruddy, CEO of conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS Newshour on Monday that he thought Trump "was considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", a decision that would require formal action by Rosenstein.

Sessions is vulnerable in at least three areas.

Sessions on Tuesday denied any involvement in possible collusion between Russian Federation and members of Trump's campaign, testimony Sessions called "unsettling".

But the attorney general left Democratic senators deeply frustrated when he declined to go into the reasons for Comey's dismissal and wouldn't say whether the President ordered him out of the Oval Office so he could talk privately with Comey on February 14, in an encounter the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said included a request for him to go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Sessions' involvement raised important questions on his judgement and ethics, she said. US officials have said since December that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election so President Donald Trump could win.

Marco Rubio tried to pry specifics of that meeting from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. No mention was made of the Russian Federation investigation. Unable to shake anything out of the trees, Democrats vented much of their frustration at the Attorney General, saying that Sessions had no basis to refuse to answer questions from Senators. It later was reported that he had met twice with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Sessions addressed media reports that he may have had a third previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower Hotel previous year.

In his confirmation hearing, Sessions testified that he did not have "communications" with the Russians during the presidential campaign.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign".

However Democrat Congressman Jim Langevin said Sessions fell short of the standard of evidence required at such a hearing. But time and again, Sessions returned to lines such as "I am not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others".

However, questions about conversations with the Russian ambassador, for instance, would not fall under such a designation. We have the powers and institution to do it, and I think we have an ethical obligation and a responsibility to the country to do it. "What it is not to be used for is as some kind of tool to cover up conduct that is improper or illegal perhaps", Moore said.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.

Before Sessions could answer, McCain again jumped out of his mental fog phone booth to intervene.

Sessions also argued that his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation did not mean that he should be barred from his oversight duties over the FBI, following claims by Democrats that he should have not played a role in Comey's firing.

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