Sessions' plans to testify surprised Senate intelligence panel members
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 11:35
The former director did not elaborate in public on the nature of the information.
Sessions had been scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee to review funding for the Justice Department, which he heads. The entire Trump administration will come under examination as Sessions returns to the Senate for the first time since his confirmation hearing in February.
That prompted at least some members of the committee to push for a closed hearing, or at least some allotted time to meet with Sessions privately after the public forum, aides said.
He recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the ambassador.
Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein will stand in for Mr Sessions at the planned appropriations sub-committee hearings.
Trump's tendency to bring up the Russian Federation investigation, whether by insulting Comey or hinting at the existence of tapes, has created a headache for Republicans who want to focus on the party's priorities such as healthcare and tax reform.
Comey's remarks drew an angry response from the president on Friday accusing Comey of lying.
The president has since said he was thinking of the Russian Federation investigation when he made the decision and that he was planning to fire Comey regardless of the DOJ recommendation. She spoke on "Face The Nation" Sunday about what she considered President Trump taking premature victory by tweeting that Comey's testimony was a "total and complete vindication".
Senator Lankford, agreed the panel needed to hear any tapes, if they exist.
On Comey's accusations that Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation of Flynn, Bharara said "no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction" of justice. Recordings of conversations where Trump allegedly asked Comey for "loyalty" and to stop investigating Michael Flynn would either support or refute Comey's allegations against the president. Sessions was asked by Trump, among others, to leave the meeting so that the president could speak to Comey in private. In his testimony on Thursday, Comey accused President Donald Trump of firing him to try to undermine the FBI's investigation of possible collusion by people in Trump's campaign with Russia's alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Comey was leading that probe.
Sessions will also be prepared to describe the process of filling out his SF-86 security clearance form in 2016 - specifically, the advice he received from Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel that he didn't need to include all of the meetings he had with foreign officials in his capacity as a sitting senator, the source said.
But behind the scenes, there was significant pushback from Democrats - including Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner - who raised objections with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr that Sessions may be trying to skirt public scrutiny.