Sessions vigorously denies improper Russia contacts

Members of the Senate intelligence committee are expressing confusion over why Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not disclose his conversations with the president.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the suggestion that he colluded with Russians in the 2016 presidential election "is an appalling and detestable lie".

Last week, Comey told the Senate committee that Trump had fired him to undermine the FBI's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.

In a testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, Comey raised red flags when he said that prior to Sessions' recusal, the FBI was aware of information that would have made his continued involvement in the Russian Federation investigation "problematic". His insistence that there was no reason to recuse himself from the dismissal of Comey because it was due to Comey's improper handling of the Hillary Clinton's email case and not to end the Russian Federation investigation, as Trump himself said in a TV interview, was just not believable.

Sessions insisted he stepped aside from the Russian Federation investigation because he was a principal adviser to the Trump campaign, not because he did something wrong or was a subject of the probe.

Wyden asked Sessions about his recusal from the investigation and his role in Comey's dismissal. "I affirmed to him his willingness to say no, or not go in an improper way, improper direction".

Mr Sessions was asked if he will participate in further hearings, and he was non-committal, saying that he will only do so if appropriate.

Sessions, testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, denied ever having any conversations with Russians about Russian election meddling - including at an event a year ago at a Washington hotel that was attended by Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

In March, Sessions 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. On June 13, Jeff Sessions had his turn in the hot seat, testimony that proves crucial when trying to understand President Donald Trump's relationship with Russian Federation.

Wyden asked Sessions what problematic issues exist.

Harris followed up, "Sir, I am not asking about you the principle. There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. But he angrily denounced such claims as "secret innuendo", a likely reference to media accounts of a closed-door briefing lawmakers had last week with Comey that suggested the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been looking into whether another meeting had taken place. The latest tempest includes stories that Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel who picked up where Comey left off. "Come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak honestly and openly with those who you first misled".

He said the intelligence agency needed a "fresh start" as it had "problems", adding that Mr Comey had caused "controversy on both sides of the aisle".

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

  • Zachary Reyes