Jeff Sessions furiously denies Russian collusion as a 'detestable and appalling lie'
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 14:14
Sessions, who testified before the Committee on June 13, has admitted to two previous meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak.
Sessions' legal rationale for his silence was muddled, at best, and deliberate interference at worst, something Democrats accused him of.
"You are not answering questions". Asked whether he would ever take any action to remove Mueller, Sessions said, "I would not think that would be appropriate for me to do".
He bristled at Wyden and told the OR senator that people are suggesting through innuendo that he has not been honest.
"I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling".
SESSIONS: Well, you let me qualify it.
Heinrich: "Because you're invoking executive privilege?". "That's the president's prerogative".
He said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had begun discussing replacing Comey before either of them was confirmed in their jobs.
Angus King asked a number of questions about the basis for Sessions' refusal to answer questions, to which Sessions simply responded the president was not asserting executive privilege, but that he was protecting Trump's right to do so if he chooses.
Senators got just five minutes each to ask questions (the chairman and vice chairman got 10). The attorney general is sure to be asked about those meetings, as well as media reports that Sessions may have held a third meeting with Russian government officials before taking office. What followed was a pile of excuse-making by the same three reporters who wrote the original fake news.
Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has frequently supported Trump and worked with Sessions when he was in the Senate, offered him a hand, painting a comical portrait of an alleged spy scheme. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pressed Sessions on why the attorney general actually recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.
Then Sessions downplayed Comey's request that he never be left in the room alone with Trump again, saying, "he gave me no detail about what it was that he was concerned about".
Sessions' silence kept a lid on important details that could have illuminated much more of the Russian Federation story. Ultimately, Fredericksen said, a court might determine whether the information is public or not, but all involved would probably want to avoid that outcome.
"I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling", Wyden said.
Sessions: Um, repeat that, Senator McCain.
"The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI", it said. "It was an important issue". I can tell you that for absolute certainty.
Other attorneys general, of course, have evaded congressional questions.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday afternoon just days after fired FBI Director James Comey appeared before the same panel investigating questions of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign.
At a separate hearing Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, overseeing that effort since Sessions stepped aside, said he'd seen no basis for firing Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director he appointed as special counsel.
"We may have discussed that", Sessions said.
Sessions said he has not received briefings on any Russian Federation hacking. When Sessions declined to say directly whether Comey was sacked because of the Russian investigation, she asked the attorney general why wouldn't discuss the reasons behind the firing. And even before he formally recused himself, Sessions was not briefed on and did not participate in anything related to the pending investigation.
But Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin said Sessions's reasoning did not make sense.
Sessions was critical of the investigation, but seemingly only because it didn't "get to the bottom" of what happened.
"I can not and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president", he said. He was in charge of leading the investigation on the Hillary Clinton email scandal, the findings of which are said to have cost her the election.
It wasn't until the stars aligned, as the Russian Federation investigation was heating up, that Sessions and Rosenstein could pull the plug, with at least Trump's blessing. The Oregon Democrat was questioning Sessions about why he could sign the letter recommending the firing of Comey if it violated his recusal.