Fresh questions for Sessions _ and he'll answer in public
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 11:54
Over the weekend, Sessions agreed, writing, "In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum".
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, 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.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Sessions requested the open setting because "he believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him". He cut his teeth as a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, at the height of the drug war, and numerous policies he has tried to implement as attorney general have roots in that time period.
Last week, Comey raised additional questions about Sessions' involvement, saying the FBI knew of reasons why it would be problematic for the attorney general to stay involved in the Russian Federation investigation well before Sessions recused himself in March. Comey testified that in the privacy of the Oval Office, the President asked him to let the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn drop.
"It is really unclear what he is going to say, and I am a little bit surprised because in the past, he has gotten into trouble when he said things and they turned out not to be entirely true", said Jens Ohlin, a professor of law at Cornell University.
On Monday, in a odd photo op, members of Trump's Cabinet lavished praise on the President, who has struggled to extricate himself from the Russian Federation cloud over his White House.
Mr Trump had himself attributed his dismissal of Mr Comey to the Russian Federation investigation. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions said under oath that he "did not have communications with the Russians" during the campaign; he later admitted he met with the ambassador twice.
"Public needs to now more about Sessions' Russia contacts & his role in Comey's firing", Wyden tweeted.
A third area of vulnerability for Sessions also arose from the Comey hearing.
In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again.
First, Democrats will grill him on Comey's revelations - for instance his claim that Sessions appeared to recognize the inappropriateness of Trump's request to meet the Federal Bureau of Investigation director alone on February 14.
Reed noted that other members of the administration "walked around" questions at recent hearings. Trump has denied that he said that.
Questions are swirling about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions was originally scheduled to testify Tuesday about the Justice Department budget before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge.