US Attorney General Visiting Montana, Talk About Drug Crisis

Isaac Cain
April 26, 2018

Sessions was on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing to ostensibly discuss the Justice Department's budget, but the questions from senators repeatedly veered into his recusal in the Russian Federation investigation, the latest developments with Cohen and the prospect Trump could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller.

The president's unorthodox attacks on the Justice Department have raised concerns by some critics about threats to the independence of the department's investigations.

"That question calls for speculation; I'm not able to do that", Sessions said in response to a question from Sen.

At the hearing, Sessions said he's abiding by a recusal he announced in March 2017 that he won't be involved in matters related to the 2016 presidential campaigns.

A person familiar with the matter said earlier that Sessions has decided not to recuse himself from the investigation into Cohen but will step back from specific matters if required by department rules. This comes after complaints were filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice claiming that such payments may have been illegal and unreported campaign contributions.

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Later, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., asked Sessions if he would recuse himself from the Cohen investigation if he discovered any relationship between it and the probe of the Trump campaign. He was set to testify about the Justice Department's proposed $28.4 billion budget request for 2019.

The attorney general would not say whether Trump or anyone in the White House has discussed the possibility of issuing a pardon of Cohen.

"Out of deference to the committee, I have ordered that there be no pause while that review is conducted", Sessions said.

"I should not answer that question; it would be inappropriate to do so", Sessions said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "I do have confidence in him". "Arpaio was 80-something years of age and he was convicted of a misdemeanor".

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