Attorney General Jeff Sessions talks spy fiction at Senate hearing
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 20:57
I say I didn't meet with them, and now the next thing you know, I'm accused of some reception, plotting some sort of influence campaign for the American election.
"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.
Sessions will likely be asked whether he played a role in Trump's surprise decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last month - a move that caused Trump's critics to charge that he was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation. When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked about Sessions' recollection of meetings with Russian officials or businessmen, he complained, "I'm not to be able to be rushed this fast".
The attorney general stepped aside from the Justice Department probe into Russian meddling in the campaign on March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Such a move would create a firestorm coming weeks after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
When asked about rumors that the president was considering firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller, Sanders said the president wasn't planning on doing so any time soon.
Lawmakers wanted Sessions to verify pieces of Comey's testimony, specifically what happened between Comey and Trump on February 14 in the Oval Office after the president cleared the room of everyone but the man running the agency that was leading the Russian Federation investigation.
Sessions said on Tuesday he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said Ruddy had not spoken to Trump about the issue and that only the president or his attorneys were authorized to speak about it.
But he declined to talk about the nature of a meeting he attended with Trump just before Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein drafted a letter outlining these objections.
But if questions coming into Tuesday's hearing were, "How would Sessions respond to fired FBI Director James Comey's intimation that there was something else - something classified - about Sessions to be concerned about?" or "What more do we know about President Trump's role in firing Comey or putting pressure on officials to drop the Russian Federation investigation?" there wasn't much light shed on them.
The nation's top law enforcement official - who has recused himself from all ongoing Russian Federation investigations - has himself become a focal point in congressional probes into the allegations of election meddling, in possible collusion with Trump's team, that have dogged the young administration.
The comments came a day after a close friend of President Donald Trump was quoted in a television interview as saying the president was considering dismissing Mueller.
"Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies call "tradecraft"?" "I just don't remember it".
Sessions may be under a further cloud after Comey suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from political pressure from Trump's White House.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for the DOJ policy Sessions cited during the hearing.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he consults with a career ethics official when questions arise about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.
Miller: "She was trying to shout down Attorney General Sessions and I thought it was way out of bounds".
This was among the many times Sessions attempted to explain that he is protecting the President's right to choose to invoke executive privilege in not sharing the details of conversations. John McCain, R-Ariz., as she tried to question the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. When Comey came forward saying he was re-opening the investigation in October of past year, Sessions praised him.
When Comey testified, there was nobody carrying water for the White House on the Senate Russia probe - even though half of the panel is comprised of Senate Republicans.
Republicans were mostly non-combative, if not friendly to Sessions Tuesday, maybe none more so than Sen.