Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden Has Heated Exchange With US Attorney General

Franken accused Sessions of trying to whitewash and downplay his lie and urged the Attorney General to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty".

"It is absurd, frankly, to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render the Attorney General unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations", he said.

His staffers have since acknowledged that he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Sessions was combative in angrily defending his reputation against "scurrilous and false allegations" that he personally colluded with Russian Federation in the campaign. Sen. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

"In retrospect, do you believe that it would have been better for you to have stayed out of the decision to fire director Comey?"

"Mr. Comey, perhaps he didn't know, but I basically recused myself the first day I got into the office, because I never accessed files". Last week, Mr. Comey told the same Senate panel he was sacked because the investigation was "irritating" Mr. Trump. Martin Heinrich told Sessions he was "impeding" the congressional investigation by not answering questions.

Before he became attorney general, Sessions served two decades as a Republican senator from Alabama.

He bristled at Wyden and told the OR senator that people are suggesting through innuendo that he has not been honest.

SHAPIRO: How do you react to this testimony from Sessions today that he was only referring to the context of this breaking news story back in January? "You don't walk into any hearing or any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with the president of the United States".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

Sessions was a Trump campaign surrogate during last year's race. Trump was not, Sessions said. "I think if I had had a meeting with Ambassador Kislyak, or three for that matter, I would go the extra mile to make sure that every time I connected with him I was transparent about that with the US Congress".

Sessions' testimony was initially going to take place behind closed doors - but ranking committee members decided to make it public.

Comey was sacked in May at Sessions's recommendation, prompting widespread speculation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's removal was created to scuttle or derail the Russian Federation probe. But he said that the two never substantially talked. That encounter appears to have been the one at the Mayflower.

"We may have discussed that", Sessions said. It was not reassuring to repeatedly hear "I don't recall" responses about what happened during the campaign and his contact with Russian officials.

With pressure growing on the White House over Mr Comey's dismissal and the Russia probe, Mr Sessions also defended himself against Democratic allegations that he gave misleading testimony about his contacts with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

He declined to specify which practice he was using to refuse to answer senator's questions.

  • Arturo Norris