At US Senate hearing, Jeff Sessions denies meeting with Russian officials
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 14:10
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2017. He also said he was protecting Trump's rights to later assert executive privilege, mentioning that Trump hadn't had a chance to know the questions being asked.
Stewart, who saw portions of the hearing and read most of the transcript that was available Tuesday evening, said he considered Sessions' responses appropriate in not discussing his conversations with Trump. "Wyden. There are none!" he said. "There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a star player in two key controversies about the Trump administration: the investigation into Donald Trump campaign's connections with Russian Federation and whether the president improperly interfered in an FBI investigation. And he praised Comey for his farewell note to the bureau, in which he said the president has the right to fire his FBI director for "no reason at all". He says Comey should have talked to Boente, especially if he had concerns about Sessions staying involved in the Russian Federation investigation.
Two months after his recusal, Mr. Sessions signed off on Mr. Comey's firing. Today, Sessions said that he thought it was inappropriate that Comey decided not to prosecute her. "They don't decide prosecution".
That possibility of a meeting between Kislyak and Sessions at the Mayflower had taken on potentially new meaning last Thursday when Comey said there were a number of reasons Sessions had to recuse himself in the Russian Federation investigation, but that he could only discuss the matter in a closed hearing.
Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked whether Trump had expressed any frustration with Sessions about his decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation. But Sessions says he had concerns about Comey's job performance even before he was confirmed. Sessions added that, "to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation" would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI would be "absurd".
Sessions said he had confidence in Mueller, but could not say if Trump did.
"He was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself, for a variety of reasons".
"Let me state this clearly, colleagues". Sessions said he was in an Oval Office meeting in February with Comey and Trump when the president said he wanted to speak to Comey privately - and he acknowledged that Comey came to talk to him the next day about the meeting.
USA intelligence agencies concluded in a report released in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to interfere in the election to help Trump in part by hacking and releasing damaging emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Questions have arisen about Sessions' own involvement in the Trump campaign and his meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.
Sessions had come before the committee following reports that he had fallen out of favor with Trump, and that he had offered the president his resignation. The suggestion that I participated in any collusion.is an appalling and detestable lie, " scolded Sessions.
Sessions was involved in the Trump campaign since early 2016. Trump was likely happy that Attorney General Sessions testified like he was U.S. Amnesia General.
But he denied an alleged third encounter with Kislyak, at an 27 April, 2016 reception for Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Sessions says he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump and members of Sessions' staff were also in attendance.
"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel", said Sessions.
The attorney general on March 2 recused himself from the FBI investigation into Russia's role in the election, saying he felt he was required to do so because he had been a prominent figure in Trump's campaign.