Jeff Sessions denies collusion with Russia during high-stakes US Senate hearing

Danny Woods
June 14, 2017

"The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information", Sessions wrote in a letter on Saturday sent to the appropriations committees.

He told King that he never sought details on the Russian Federation investigation because of his close connections to Trump's presidential campaign. "I have no knowledge of any conversations held along those lines by anybody in the Trump campaign".

If - if, as the President said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the Attorney General involved in that chain?

Any suggestion I participated in, or was aware of, collusion with Russians is "appalling and detestable lie".

In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.

Comey referred frequently to the attorney general and included the tantalizing tidbit that there were "facts that I can't discuss in an open setting". Sessions responded by saying that it didn't violate his recusal. Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Sessions.

"Why don't you tell me", Sessions fired back, "There are none Senator Wyden, there are none!"

"AG Sessions should be subpoenaed to Judiciary Committee to answer questions he's dodging today, publicly and under oath", Blumenthal said in a tweet. "Mr. Comey well knew them, I thought, and assumed correctly that he complied with them".

The White House, which was slow to say whether President Trump has confidence in Sessions, finally confirmed at the end of last week that the president does have confidence in the country's top law enforcement officer. I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat.

Sessions denied any collusion with Russian Federation to meddle in the US presidential election, saying the accusations are "scurrilous", "appalling", "detestable".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

Sessions is likely to be asked whether he played a role in Trump's decision to fire Comey.

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He has acknowledged two meetings past year with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.

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.

"If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it", Sessions said.

"Sen. (Al) Franken asked me a rambling question after some six hours of testimony", Sessiona said.

In his testimony last week, Comey said he and Trump had a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14 about the investigation into the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

"In any of your conversations with the president about the firing of James Comey did the question of the Russian Federation investigation ever come up?"

"If I don't qualify, it you'll accuse me of lying so I need to be correct as best as I can". That's right - after last week's blockbuster testimony from Comey, Sessions has a lot to answer for with regards to the sequence of events that have played out since President Trump took office. The FBI is part of the Justice Department that Sessions heads.

During the hearing, King said Sessions was "selective" about discussing some conversations Sessions had with the president, but not others. "But that in itself is not problematic".

"I do want you to be honest", Harris said.

Sessions also denied the notion that concerns about Trump's behavior caused him to linger after a meeting when Trump asked for everyone but Comey to leave the room.

Sessions may be under a further cloud after Comey suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from political pressure from Trump's White House.

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