Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called the suggestion that he may have colluded with Russian Federation in its interference in the 2016 election a lie.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said “there’s a real question of the propriety” of Sessions’ involvement in Comey’s dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
The attorney general has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak. But he said essentially that he was flustered by a question from Sen.
Sessions position is odd, since one of his meetings with Sergey Kislyak occurred at the Republican National Convention.
Sessions refused to say whether he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with President Trump, saying he could not disclose private communications with the President.
Comey suggested this indicated the attorney general’s awareness that it was improper for Trump and Comey to meet alone together, given the specter of the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible ties with the Trump campaign.
While the attorney general agreed to testify before the committee in public, he declined to comment on his private conversations with the president and other high officials at the White House, which he said would be a “violation of the communications rule”.
Though he’s the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein would have the authority to fire Mueller since Sessions recused himself in March from any probes related to campaigns for the presidency, like the Russian Federation investigation. I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat.
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) also hit Sessions for dodging questions.
“He [Sen. Franken] asked me a rambling question after 6 hours of testimony that included dramatic, new allegations”, he said. “We are talking about an attack on our democratic institutions and stonewalling of any kind is unacceptable”.
Watch replay of Sessions’ testimony in the player below.
“I felt I was required to under the Department of Justice”.
The attorney general, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, has recused himself from the DOJ Russia investigation. And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is acting in that capacity.
“I’m puzzled because the decision had been made, what was the need for you to write a recommendation?” There are none, Sen. “People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I’ve tried to be honest”.
Senators are expected to hone in on Comey’s recounting of a February 14 White House meeting where Trump pressed the director to drop the FBI’s inquiry into national security adviser Michael Flynn. On the date of my formal recusal, my Chief of Staff sent an email to the heads of the relevant departments, including by name to Director Comey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to instruct them to inform their staffs of this recusal and to advise them not to brief me or involve me in any such matters.
When asked about President Trump’s contention that he fired Mr Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Senator Sessions said: “I guess I’ll just have to let his words speak for themselves”.
Sessions described the exchange very differently Tuesday. I am happy to share with the committee my recollection of the conversation I had with Mr. Comey.
Wyden said Monday that Sessions hasn’t engaged in anything close to a real recusal.
“The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian Federation investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation”, said Sen. “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”.
Comments from Trump ally Christopher Ruddy spurred buzz that the president might fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
Speaking at a news conference, Ryan said he knows Mueller and his team and has confidence in his investigation.
Asked what he would do if the president ordered him to fire Mueller, Rosenstein said, “I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders”.
The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that the agency had believed Sessions was “inevitably going to recuse” for reasons he could not elaborate on.
“If there were good cause, I would consider it”, Rosenstein testified.
Sessions refused to say whether he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he could not disclose private communications with the president. Sessions added his own letter to that effect, and both documents were sent to Trump, who then fired Comey later on the same day, May 9.
Sessions responded by thanking Cotton for asking the question.