Attorney General Session next up for Capitol Hill scrutiny

Attorney-General Jeff Sessions told Congress Saturday (June 10) that he would testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday about issues related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions did not specify whether he would testify in an open or closed setting.

Sessions said Saturday that he was accepting an invitation from the Senate intelligence committee, although that was not immediately confirmed.

The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election. The intelligence panel "is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information", he added. Sessions, whose contacts with Russia's ambassador to the US during the presidential campaign has sparked questions, agreed Saturday, June 10, to appear before the Senate intelligence committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Trump is again challenging Comey after the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director's testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee last week.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts previous year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.

In March, Sessions recused himself from supervising the investigation into possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Comey said during his testimony that he asked a friend to release contents of the memos he'd written about his conversations with the president to a reporter.

Comey has testified that he thought it was improper for his then-boss Sessions to have been excluded from that meeting, and he has said that he did not want to be alone with the president again to avoid the appearance of undue influence. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

Comey's testimony raised questions about Sessions' engagements with Russian Federation and his involvement in Comey's firing despite Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation, which Comey was leading.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., also a member of that committee, agreed the panel needed to hear any tapes that exist.

Mr Sessions has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will replace Sessions at the appropriations committees' hearing Tuesday.

Comey wrote that Sessions did not reply to his request.

Sessions had told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing in January that he hadn't met with Russians during the campaign. Reed was on "Fox News Sunday".

  • Zachary Reyes