Sessions: DOJ regulations mandated my recusal from Trump-Russia probe

In a tense session of the Senate committee, members grilled Sessions on a series of issues, including conversations he had with Trump and his role in Comey's departure as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said. "You're impeding this investigation".

He is set to testify hours after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared in the Senate and said he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director he appointed as special counsel to oversee the Russian Federation investigation.

Sessions will likely be asked whether he played a role in Trump's surprise decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last month - a move that caused Trump's critics to charge that he was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

But he flatly denounced as "an appalling and detestable lie" the idea he colluded with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign but refused to answer a series of questions during a high-stakes Senate hearing.

Sessions denied any collusion with Russian Federation to meddle in the US presidential election, saying the accusations are "scurrilous", "appalling", "detestable".

The hearing that spanned roughly two-and-a-half-hours, left the Democrats fuming over the attorney general's refusal to answer questions. Sen.

Sessions, however, seemed to struggle as he was asked to name the policy he cited.

"What is the legal basis for you refusing to answer these questions?" probed Sen.

Executive privilege is a power that can be claimed by a president or senior executive branch officials to withhold information from Congress or the courts to protect the executive branch decision-making process.

Kamala Harris of California was cut off again while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.

US President Donald Trump's administration has been dogged by allegations of collusion with the Kremlin in last year's election.

Sessions, a member of Trump's campaign, sharply refuted suggestions that he had improper contact with Russian officials before or after the election. He also said he hasn't spoken to special counsel Robert Mueller about the Russian investigation. Mr. Sessions had denied at his January confirmation hearing that he ever met with Mr. Kislyak.

Comey said during his testimony last week that during the one-on-one encounter in February, Trump urged him to stop the investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", he said, criticizing the reports about the committee's closed session with Comey.

"Attorney General Sessions, this venue is your opportunity to separate fact from fiction and to set the record straight", said Sen.

ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS: What is the question? Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing.

The attorney general has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

And some senators on the other side of the aisle pushed back on that answer - or lack thereof. Sessions, however, could have invoked executive privilege himself.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey testified last week.

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.

  • Zachary Reyes