AG Jeff Sessions Headed to Hot Seat in Senate Intel Committee
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 14:42
DOJ says the attorney general reminded Comey about the DOJ policy.
The Washington Post on March 1 cited justice department officials saying Sessions had met with Kislyak at least twice in 2016 while serving as a Trump surrogate in the presidential campaign.
The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Comey branded the president a liar and said he believed he was sacked over his handling of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russian election meddling, allegations that Trump denied on Friday. Did you ask your deputy attorney general to write a memo recommending the firing of Comey?
Sessions informed Congress that he will appear before the committee rather than send his second-in-command.
It was initially unclear whether the hearing would be open, but committee leaders announced Monday it would be public. And Sessions has sat through enough hearings to know his answers will come back to bite him if there is even an element of untruth.
Until the panel chairman's statement on Monday, it had been unclear whether Sessions would testify in an open or closed setting.
"It depends on the scope of the questions", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said when asked whether Sessions would invoke executive privilege.
But intelligence committee members at first were unaware of a planned hearing. One meeting reportedly happened in the summer and another in September.
"The American people need to understand this issue", he said. Did Sessions suspect that Trump was trying to interfere in the FBI's various investigations of Flynn and Russian meddling?
Comey's remarks drew an angry response from the president on Friday, who accused him of lying.
"I think the President needs to let the investigation move on", the IL congressman said. The announcement of his testimony was made without comment from committee officials, who decline to say whether Sessions would be sworn to tell the truth.
Senator Lankford, agreed the panel needed to hear any tapes, if they exist.
Senators are expected to hone in on Comey's recounting of a February 14 White House meeting where Trump pressed the director to drop the FBI's inquiry into national security adviser Michael Flynn. And, finally, Comey raised some questions about why Sessions played a role in his firing last month if Sessions were truly hands-off on the Russian Federation probe.
During his testimony last week, Comey said he had notes of meetings with Trump in which the president asked him for a pledge of personal loyalty and to drop the Russian Federation investigation as it pertained to former national security adviser Flynn.
The appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee comes days after former FBI Director Comey told lawmakers that 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.
The Trump administration has given numerous reasons for Comey's firing, including his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information", he added. Charles Schumer of NY, the Senate's top Democrat.
Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine whether Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians. The order gave the government until July 12 to produce any documents not subject to a FOIA exemption from the request for the page of Sessions' SF-86 form, a security clearance questionnaire.