Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

Former FBI Director James Comey testified earlier before the Senate intelligence committee said he knew of reasons why it would be problematic for Sessions to remain involved in the Russian Federation investigation, even before he recused himself.

"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion ... to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.

Meanwhile, he said it was not improper for Trump to meet with the then FBI Director James Comey, but it was improper for Comey to disclose the content of his one-to-one talks with Trump.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts past year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never had conversations with FBI Director James Comey about his job performance before Comey's firing.

"Whether I ever attended a reception where the Russian ambassador also was present was beside the point", an emotional Sessions, contending he went to Mayflower event with no knowledge Kislyak would also be there.

Mr Comey had also said that Mr Sessions had lingered in the Oval Office following a group meeting, just before the private encounter during which he has said the president asked him to pull back on his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Asked about media reports that he had met with Kislyak on a third occasion at a Washington hotel a year ago, Sessions testified that did not remember meeting or having a conversation with the ambassador at the event.

Richard Burr, committee chairman to Sessions before his opening testimony.

Wyden said Sessions' answer "doesn't pass the smell test".

In a separate Senate hearing, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein - who following Mr Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation probe is the official with authority to fire Mueller - told lawmakers he has seen no evidence of good cause to do so.

Sessions testimony follows that of Comey before the Intelligence Committee last week. Sessions said it did not. Comey - or any other Justice Department official - would have had to obtain prior approval from a superior before doing so, he added.

Sessions is the highest-ranking official to be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russian hackers and the Trump presidential campaign.

"It's my judgement not to reveal private conversations with the president unless he has an opportunity to review the questions and make a decision", Sessions responded.

He may also face questions about comments by Mr Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax, who suggested Monday that the president was considering firing Mr Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to lead the FBI's Russian Federation probe. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) during his highly anticipated testimony on Tuesday as he claimed his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation was proper.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday adamantly defended his involvement in James Comey's firing, saying his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation did not preclude him from overseeing the FBI. Sessions snapped at the OR lawmaker. "The basis for this historical practice is laid out in the 1982 memos from President Reagan and then-Assistant Attorney General Olson".

The Senate committee is of one several congressional panels that, along with a special counsel, is also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot.

  • Zachary Reyes