Attorney General Jeff Sessions Offers To Testify To Intelligence Panel

Alvin Kelly
June 13, 2017

Editor's Note: (Watch CNN's live coverage of AG Jeff Sessions' testimony beginning Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET on CNN and CNN.com) (CNN) Attorney General Jeff Sessions stunned the political world over the weekend by making clear he wanted to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow".

It has never been clear how Sessions could have recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, but still involved himself in the decision to fire the FBI director, given that the decision to fire Comey was directly linked to the Russian Federation investigation.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.

Whether executive privilege is invoked "depends on the scope of the questions", White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday.

On Saturday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled his scheduled appearance before an open session of the House and Senate appropriations committees set for the coming week.

First, Democrats will grill him on Comey's revelations - for instance his claim that Sessions appeared to recognize the inappropriateness of Trump's request to meet the Federal Bureau of Investigation director alone on February 14. His failure to disclose meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak forced him to later amend his testimony and added fuel to the Russia intrigue swirling around Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who had called for Sessions' testimony to be public, welcomed the open hearing as a "positive step" but said the attorney general should be "forthcoming" regarding "unanswered and troubling questions".

On Monday, in a unusual photo op, members of Trump's Cabinet lavished praise on the President, who has struggled to extricate himself from the Russian Federation cloud over his White House.

More news: Maryland, DC attorneys general file lawsuit against Trump

Tuesday's hearing may also throw new light on the awkward state of the relationship between Trump and Sessions.

Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.

-Feinstein acknowledged she "would have a queasy feeling, too" if Comey's testimony was true that Loretta Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation. Sessions said earlier this year that he'd never harbored racial animus.

Sessions is under scrutiny for his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the presidential campaign.

Media reports last week said Mr Sessions had offered to resign because of tensions with the president.

On Comey's accusations that Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation of Flynn, Bharara said "no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction" of justice. He said he didn't have an answer.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia on Monday sued President Donald Trump, accusing the commander-in-chief of violating a constitutional anti-corruption clause that bars him from accepting money from foreign governments, according to multiple reports.

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