Can Jeff Sessions avoid some questions by citing executive privilege?
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 14:40
Sessions, who has recused himself from the Justice Department's Russia probe due to his own contacts a year ago with Russian officials, had originally been thought to prefer a closed hearing to protect sensitive issues.
As the White House's political crisis over the Russian Federation investigation has grown, the attorney general has laid low. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of that committee, referring to the existence of any recordings.
But intelligence committee members at first were unaware of a planned hearing. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said. Sessions says that his decision stems from last week's testimony by fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.
JOHNSON: You know, there's a big question about that right now.
In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations that look at Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign. "The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian 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".
Tuesday's testimony is likely also to touch on allegations that Sessions himself met more often than he has acknowledged with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Comey's dramatic testimony drew invective from his former boss on Twitter, with Trump dismissing him as a leaker on Friday and a coward on Sunday. "Totally illegal?" he asked in a tweet. Comey is a compelling, high-drama figure; Sessions is a slow talking, monotone Alabaman. But, added Lankford "releasing his memos is not damaging to national security".
Sessions won't be able to tell senators what went on in the meeting - the president had ordered him out of the Oval Office, along with other officials, before speaking privately with Comey, according to Comey's testimony. Preet Bharara told ABC's "This Week" that Trump was trying to "cultivate some kind of relationship" with him when he called him twice before the inauguration to "shoot the breeze". "The President says it is not true", CNN's John Berman said earlier Monday on "New Day".
Schumer, in the same interview, invited Trump to testify before the Senate, responding to the president's Friday claim that he'd be "100 percent" willing to speak under oath. "But quite out of the blue, the chairman on his own issued three subpoenas to three of the agencies, and that, I think, took them by surprise".
In a letter Saturday to Sen. Did he talk about the Russian investigation with him? Feinstein is the top Democrat on that panel and a member of both.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer called Sessions' agreement to testify in the open a "positive step" given all the "many unanswered and troubling questions" that exist.
Despite the report, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday in response to a question from a reporter that Trump "absolutely" has confidence in Sessions.