Sessions' interrogation will be public

Faith Castro
June 13, 2017

Sessions, a former Alabama Senator, is set to appear before the panel tomorrow to answer questions on his contact with Russian officials while a member of President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election in early March, after it came to light that he had not disclosed two pre-election meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation hearings.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said he contacted Sessions after a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office where Sessions and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, were asked to leave and Comey was alone with the president.

High-profile supporters of President Donald Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign.

Some Republicans now are arguing that Sessions isn't the first attorney general to inject politics in an investigation, pointing to testimony last week that Loretta Lynch urged Comey to call the probe into Clinton's e-mail practice a "matter" rather than "investigation".

Sessions, who had agreed to testify this week before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees about the Justice Department budget, wrote the chairmen of the committees Saturday and said he was sending his deputy to testify instead.

Trump has reportedly been furious with Sessions ever since he recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, believing he could have helped quash the investigation if he hadn't done so.

Sessions said his decision to accept the intelligence committee's invitation to appear was due in part to Comey's testimony.

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Conservative commentator Ann Coulter offered a similar message, tweeting, "Now that we know TRUMP IS NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION, Sessions should take it back & fire Mueller".

Comey's testimony on Thursday also raised new questions about the attorney general's relationship with Russian officials with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

"It's an honor to be able to serve you", Sessions said.

The White House has already acknowledged that Sessions will not hesitate to invoke executive privilege, which may limit knowledge-sharing quite a bit.

The president and aides noted that Comey testified that he told Trump three times he was not personally under investigation over Russian contacts.

Later, Comey said he was so uncomfortable that he went to Sessions to "implore" him "to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me".

The Justice Department has contradicted other elements of Comey's dramatic testimony.

Feinstein said she did not necessarily believe Trump was unfit for office, as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has asserted, but said he has a "destabilizing effect" on government.

Last week, CNN reported that investigators are looking into the possibility of a third previously unreported meeting between Sessions and Kislyak. Graham said on "Face the Nation". Chapman doesn't provide any evidence, only his "wish" that Trump must be guilty since he wished the probe would stop. Also, Trump supposedly asked for a public statement that he was not under investigation. Mr. Schumer said. "It doesn't seem to stand up well to me".

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