Sessions And Wyden Get Testy During Hearing
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 4:12
During a highly-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, the New Mexico Democrat confronted Sessions about his refusal to reveal non-classified conversations with the president after Sessions dodged a question about whether Trump expressed dissatisfaction over Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
Comey had also said that Sessions had lingered in the Oval Office following a group meeting, just before the private encounter during which Comey has said Trump asked him to pull back on his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.
Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet". The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director discussed a host of issues surrounding Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, though his remarks also raised questions that may be directed at Sessions.
Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians.
They also want him to explain his role in the firing of Comey, despite the attorney general's recusal in March from the Russian Federation investigation following revelations of his meetings with Kislyak.
"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff". Mueller was recently appointed to lead the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential election. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge. This alleged third meeting would have taken place at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC in April 2016, where Donald Trump gave a speech. Officials said this was in an effort to show there's nothing to hide and nothing controversial about Sessions' interactions with Russian officials.
I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice and basically backed him up in his concerns. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so.
"I do recall being one of the last ones to leave, I don't know how that occurred", Sessions said.
"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", Sessions added.
The president of the University of Virginia said the school is "deeply concerned and saddened" to learn that their student is in a coma.
Despite his statement about the reasons for his recusal, the attorney general did not actually step aside from the Russia probe until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for the DOJ policy Sessions cited during the hearing.
Trump's allies have begun raising questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's impartiality - he's a former FBI director who has worked with fired FBI Director James Comey - and floating the idea that Trump might replace him.
"He didn't ask", the official said, "but going into a hearing and saying we are going to do this ahead of time is not how the process works".
Sessions testified that he had been at an event at the Mayflower hotel a year ago when Trump was giving a foreign policy speech.
"You are obstructing that congressional investigation by not answering these questions", Heinrich said.