Jeff Sessions to testify before Senate Intelligence Committee

Alvin Kelly
June 12, 2017

Mr Sessions removed himself from the FBI's inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election back in March after it emerged he had met Moscow's envoy during last year's White House race.

Sessions recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign of President Trump after acknowledging he had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

In a letter Saturday to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee chairman, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Sessions said the change in venue would be more appropriate for expected questions on the issues raised by former FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the intelligence committee Thursday.

"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", he added.

Sessions had planned to appear before the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees, but the deputy attorney general will take his place, the letter said.

In the most eagerly anticipated United States congressional hearing in years, Comey told lawmakers the Trump administration had lied and defamed him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the president dismissed him on May 9.

He will appear before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, he announced in a letter.

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In a letter Saturday to Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

He said he was "confused" by the "shifting explanations" for his sacking, which came as he led an inquiry into any links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Mr Comey told the Senate there were a "variety of reasons" why Mr Sessions's involvement in the investigation of Russia's alleged interference would be problematic.

CNN later reported that congressional investigators have been probing whether Sessions had a possible third, undisclosed meeting with Kislyak.

"The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter", said department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, referring to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the department's Russian Federation probe. Comey testified that he asked Sessions to never leave him alone with Trump again because it was inappropriate.

Comey testified that Trump asked him in that meeting to close an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He says he did not tell Sessions about Trump's request regarding Flynn.

In front of the Trump building in downtown Chicago, about 30 people demonstrated against Islamic law and in favor of President Donald Trump, shouting slogans and holding signs that read "Ban Sharia" and "Sharia abuses women".

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