Jeff Sessions recuses himself from investigations

"I want to know what happened between the Trump campaign, the Clinton campaign, and the Russians", Graham said at a CNN town hall Wednesday night.

Sessions, an early supporter of President Trump and a policy advisor to the Republican candidate, did not disclose those communications at his confirmation hearing in January when asked whether "anyone affiliated" with the campaign had contact with the Russians. Al Franken of Minnesota alerted Sessions to allegations of contact between Russian Federation and Trump aides during the 2016 election.

He joined other top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in calling for Mr. Session's resignation.

Donald Trump's attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama - suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.

It will examine deficiencies in current laws and propose new legislation, make sure agencies are collecting good crime data, and consult with law enforcement at all levels, as well as victims' groups and community groups, Sessions said.

In response to the outcry, Sessions-who now heads the Department of Justice-on Thursday offered to recuse himself from any investigation into possible Russian involvement in the election.

This wouldn't be the only time that Sessions misled the Senate during the confirmation process.

"Attorney General Sessions should resign immediately, and there is no longer any question that we need a truly independent commission to investigate this issue".

Sessions replied he was "unaware of those activities".

"This is the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats", the official said.

Sessions had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors in his role as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and had two separate interactions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, the department said.

The New York Times reported two weeks ago, citing USA intelligence sources, that three campaign staff - including campaign chief Paul Manafort - had communicated with Russian intelligence officers.

The Washington Post report emerged as Democrats had begun warning the White House and Republican lawmakers against trying to shut down any investigations of alleged Russian interference. In contrast to some statements made by Trump, Sessions acknowledged that "murder rates are half of what they were in 1980", and "the rate of violent crime has fallen by nearly half from its peak in the early 1990s".

  • Carolyn Briggs