Jeff Sessions Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 2:01
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday that any suggestion he colluded with Russian Federation during last year's US presidential campaign was an "appalling and detestable lie".
"It appears so, the intelligence community seems to be united in that", Sessions said Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, in response to a question from Maine Senator Angus King about whether Russian Federation worked to influence the election.
"The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian Federation investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation", said Sen.
Sessions in March stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice past year with Kislyak.
"Gen. Sessions, respectfully you're not answering the question", Wyden said. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing.
The attorney general testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as the FBI investigation into Russia's influence on the presidential election continues. Rather, he said, he was following a DOJ regulation, 28 CFR 45.2.
After the Post story, Sessions issued a statement in which he clarified, "I never met with Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign".
He is expected to get questions from lawmakers about how the Justice Department's $27.7 billion budget request reflects Sessions's shifting priorities towards cracking down on illegal immigration and violent crime, with millions of additional dollars going towards prosecuting more drug and gun cases (and pursuing mandatory minimum sentences) and increasing the number of immigration judges and lawyers working on border security.
Sessions's testimony is slated to begin around 2:30pm ET.
Comey referred frequently to the attorney general and included the tantalizing tidbit that there were "facts that I can't discuss in an open setting". "There are none, Sen Wyden, there are none", Mr Sessions insisted, his voice rising. There, Yun learned about Warmbier's "condition", the White House official said.
Manchin had picked the right guy to ask this question: Sessions chaired the Trump campaign's national security advisory committee, and he was a key adviser to Trump during the transition period (and Trump's designated AG pick).
Sessions' appearance before the intelligence committee is an indication of just how much the Russian Federation investigation has shaded his tenure.
Instead, Sessions didn't recuse himself for another 15 days, and only under pressure. Now, according to the breaking news broadcast on the radio all day Sunday at the top of every hour, there are (unsubstantiated) reports that he may have had a third meeting with the Russian ambassador in April of past year, and boy-oh-boy, do Democrat senators want to question him about that!
"I am not stonewalling", Sessions replied.
The memo did not mention Russian Federation, but Trump separately told NBC News that he was thinking about the Russian Federation investigation when he chose to fire Comey.
Comey said he wrote memos on his meetings with the Trump because of "the nature of the person" he was talking to.
Today, Sessions tried to deal with this in multiple ways.
"It is my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said.
A smile spread across Sessions's face as he asked chuckling, "Well, what is the question?" Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation early a year ago to review the possible third meeting with Kislyak. Sessions reportedly offered to resign in wake of the president's criticism. Wyden responded that this "doesn't pass the smell test".