Sessions says he plans to testify before Senate intelligence panel
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 10:44
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, days after fired FBI Director James Comey's testimony left lingering questions about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
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.
"I previously accepted an invitation to testify on behalf of the Department of Justice before the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees about the department's FY18 budget, which funds the department's efforts in several important areas such as combating the opioid crisis and violent crime", Sessions wrote to Sen. 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.
He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.
"There's a question of his [Sessions'] participation in the firing of [former FBI] director Comey", Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island said on Fox News Sunday. The fact that Sessions would delegate that task to his deputy showed the Russian Federation investigation was distracting him from his core duties.
Sessions recused himself in early March from investigations related to the 2016 election.
Sessions has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
"These are dark times if the attorney general of the United States is unwilling to answer questions under oath in an open session about his conduct or defend this administration's budget", Schatz said in a statement.
The Justice Department, which Sessions heads, has been investigating contacts between the Russian government and President Donald Trump's campaign organization before last November's general election, when Trump was a candidate and had not yet been chosen by American voters to be president.
Sessions wrote to the two chairmen that he would testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday instead. Sessions said the Senate Intelligence Committee is most appropriate because it "has access to relevant, classified information".
WYDEN: Let me turn to the attorney general.
The New York City federal prosecutor who expected to remain on the job when Trump took office but ended up being fired said he was made uncomfortable by one-on-one interactions with the president - just like Comey was. Shelby chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee.
He testified that he had not met with Russian government officials during the campaign, but later was obliged to change that account.