Republicans want Trump to come clean about tapes

Gladys Abbott
June 14, 2017

Sessions said he wanted to appear before the panel to address questions about him that arose last week during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony.

The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

"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 added.

Over the weekend, Sessions asked to appear before the Intelligence Committee instead of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, where he was expected to appear to discuss Department of Justice funding. Sessions eventually acknowledged he had had two meetings with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, but said there had been no need to disclose them earlier.

He later recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"There's a question of his [Sessions'] participation in the firing of [former FBI] director Comey", Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island said on Fox News Sunday. "We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.

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Sessions said he would send Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to testify about the department's budget. The fact that Sessions would delegate that task showed the Russian Federation investigation was distracting him from his core duties. Sessions refused. He may also be under a cloud of suspicion after Comey, in his devastating testimony, suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief.

"Some members have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference into Russian interference in the 2016 election, " his letter said.

At the conclusion of a February 14 meeting in the White House, Comey testified, Trump urged everyone else but Comey to leave the Oval Office, including Sessions.

It would be "fitting" for the attorney general to appear before Judiciary, Feinstein, the top Democrat on that panel, said on CNN.

Comey has testified that he thought it was improper for his then-boss Sessions to have been excluded from that meeting, and he has said that he did not want to be alone with the president again to avoid the appearance of undue influence.

Sessions, who came under criticism for failing to report meetings with the Russian ambassador, wrote a letter Saturday saying he wanted to answer questions raised during former FBI Director James B. Comey's testimony on Thursday.

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