Sessions denies colluding with Russian Federation
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 20:25
Sessions originally said that he disaffiliated himself simply because he was an adviser to Trump during the campaign, but doubt was cast on that explanation when Comey testified last week and said he thought Sessions would recuse himself earlier than he did for "problematic" reasons that needed to be discussed in a closed session.
That led to a series of frustrated and sometimes tense exchanges with critics of President Donald Trump on the panel, NBC News reported.
The probe over the possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation is now in the hands of special counsel Bob Mueller following the Comey dismissal.
In an explosive Senate intelligence hearing last week, Comey testified that - based on Trump's statements - he believes he was sacked because of the investigation into Russian election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. Sessions said he was following Justice Department policy and would not discuss confidential communications with the president.Senator Angus King, an independent, questioned Sessions' legal basis for refusing to answer.
Sessions' testimony did not provide damaging new information on any Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation or on Comey's firing, but his refusal to discuss conversations with Trump raised fresh questions about whether the White House has something to hide. It was perplexing to some senators on the committee, who grilled him about whether Trump was invoking executive privilege, which allows the president to ask his cabinet members not to divulge information.
"We can not have persons in our intelligence agencies, our investigative agencies or in Congress leaking sensitive matters - and staff", he said.
In his testimony, Sessions called allegations of campaign collusion "appalling" and "detestable". Rosenstein said he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. He should have raised his concerns to Dana Boente, however, Sessions said.
"It's conceivable that that occurred", Sessions said, "I just don't remember".
He said: "I recused myself not because of asserting wrongdoing or any belief that I may have been involved in wrongdoing in the campaign".
And he repeatedly refused to reveal whether he had spoken to the president regarding James Comey's handling of the probe into Russian election meddling - which the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director believes to be the reason he was sacked.
Sessions was a Trump campaign surrogate during last year's race. It would have been unthinkable for Comey to say the questioning made him nervous, or to become agitated and tetchy as Sessions did under cross-examination by the Democratic senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon.
"You are obstructing that congressional investigation by not answering that question", charged Senator Marin Heinrich.
Mr. Sessions said his department is pursuing investigations into leaks, and pointed to the arrest last week of a government contractor in Georgia who has been charged with leaks.
New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich accused Sessions of "impeding" the Senate Committee's probe into Trump's possible Russian Federation connections, and appeared to threaten the AG with an obstruction of justice charge.
Former FBI boss James Comey was sacked by the President over a "lack of discipline", United States attorney general Jeff Sessions has claimed. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.
Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty".