Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before Senate Intelligence Committee
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 20:44
Harris asked him whether he kept records - in calendars, memos, emails - of his conversations with US President Donald Trump. "You either answer the question under oath, or you invoke executive privilege". Comey also said that Sessions did not respond to this complaint.
Sessions said to Sen. "I did not attend any meetings at that event separate", Sessions said.
Responding to questions about the firing of Mr Comey, Mr Sessions said he never informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief of concerns about his job performance, which the administration cited in his dismissal.
"The question is: Mr Comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them".
As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he's had with Trump.
Democratic senators pressed Sessions on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege regarding the hearing.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein now heads up the probe.
Sessions told Wyden he "basically recused" himself from the Russian Federation investigation during his first day as attorney general because he "never accessed files, never learned the names of investigators, never met with them, never asked for any documentation".
Comey testified he did not tell Sessions Trump had asked him to drop a probe into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation because he suspected Sessions would soon need to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe. Namely, they were upset with his very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, which Sessions said was a "usurpation" of Justice Department authority. Sessions said he never spoke to Comey about his job performance before he was sacked.
On April 27, 2016, Trump gave a foreign policy address at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington at which he, Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were among attendees at a VIP reception.
"In retrospect, do you believe that it would have been better for you to have stayed out of the decision to fire director Comey?"
The Attorney-General also refused to discuss reports that Mr. Trump was angry at him for recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation, as this led to the probe ultimately getting taken over by an independent prosecutor.
Sessions denied any collusion with Russian Federation to meddle in the US presidential election, saying the accusations are "scurrilous", "appalling", "detestable".
"I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are proper and appropriate orders", he said.
While no one but Sessions can know his exact motivation for dodging the questions, most of the questions he ducked involved whether or not he had discussed the investigations into Russian Federation and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, or their role in the decision to fire James Comey with the president.
"I can tell you that for absolute certainty".