USA attorney general to testify in ongoing Russian Federation probe
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 12:08
It's just Monday and we're already seeing what could be the biggest surprise of the week from Washington.
Is it too cynical to suggest that Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III must have decided on a plausible set of lies, evasions, and half-truths about Donald Trump and Russian Federation and obstruction of justice and his own contacts with Russian Federation?
The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
If Sessions chooses to opt out of answering certain questions, legal experts say the committee can hold him in contempt - but that could elongate the testimony and could potentially take months. On Saturday, he wrote the chairmen of both committees and said he was sending his deputy attorney general to testify in his place. 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. ".The president's been clear, last week in the Rose Garden, that he believes that the sooner we can get this addressed and dealt with, that there's been no collusion - he wants this to get investigated as soon as possible and be done with it so he can continue with the business of the American people".
Democratic lawmakers are skeptical that Sessions will divulge any explosive new details, especially since the attorney general could assert executive privilege regarding any questions about conversations with the president.
Senators will challenge Sessions on issues raised by Comey's testimony, about his own behavior, new questions about his meetings with Russian officials and possibly his apparently tense relations with Trump. Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 10, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
How many meetings did you have with the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials in 2016?
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., also a member of that committee, agreed the panel needed to hear any tapes, if they exist.
But officials said Sessions's relationship with Trump has been strained since the attorney general recused himself from the Russian Federation probe in March. After that failure to disclose came to light, Sessions defended himself and sent supplemental testimony to the Senate.
A third area of vulnerability for Sessions also arose from the Comey hearing.
"As NPR's Carrie Johnson recently reported on All Things Considered: "[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling.
But his testimony will be a dramatic sequel to the fired FBI chief's tour de force that twisted a knife in President Donald Trump's administration over the Russian Federation investigation and still has Washington buzzing.
Former FBI Director Comey testified last week that he made records of his interactions with the president because he felt the president might one day lie about those interactions.
Reports from the White House indicate that that recusal has been a sore spot between President Donald Trump and Sessions.
"I think it depends on the scope of the questions", Spicer said. The president has also criticized the Justice Department's failed efforts to defend his travel ban in federal court.
"The Committee can negotiate with the Administration to get answers to narrower or different questions or to get answers in a closed session", Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor at Duke University School of Law, told CNN. The president said he is willing to testify under oath on these points.
Sessions told Trump he was "honored" to be able to serve him.