Harris asked, “aside from any notice or memorandum that was not sent or was, what mechanism or processes were in place to ensure that the Attorney General would not have any connection with the investigation to your knowledge?”
The Senate Intelligence Committee has announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify at an open hearing tomorrow afternoon about questions raised by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey’s testimony last week.
Though we may not learn a lot about the Russian Federation investigation, we will be able to better assess Sessions’ survival by the end of the day. The former director did not elaborate in public on the nature of the information.
“Some members [of the appropriations committees] have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, from which I have recused, and for which the deputy attorney general appointed a special counsel”, Sessions wrote.
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.
Amid reports that the Sessions hearing would possibly be closed, the American Civil Liberties Union put out a statement arguing that barring public access to the hearing would be “a gut punch to the millions of Americans committed to an open and participatory democracy”. As of this writing, it’s not clear if that will be in open session, or behind closed doors.
While several committee members, including Dianne Feinstein, Susan Collins, and Angus King had voiced support for a public hearing, other members have complained that doing so will inevitably lead to a brick wall, where Sessions will say he can not discuss certain matters in public. The Department of Justice did not deny Mr. Sessions and Mr. Kislyak crossed paths that day, but told CNN Mr. Sessions did not have any “private” talks with the ambassador at the Mayflower.
Sessions is expected to be grilled by the Senate committee on Tuesday over alleged contacts with Russian officials during the United States presidential campaign. Trump has said publicly in an NBC News interview that he fired Comey because of “this Russian Federation thing”, though White House spokespersons had previously denied that there was a connection between Comey’s firing and the Russian Federation investigation.
Sessions was a leading opponent of the Senate’s 2013 immigration overhaul, which he called too permissive.
Hopefully he won’t say that he’s unable to answer questions in a public setting, like those before him.
As news of his testimony broke, Sessions attended a Cabinet meeting with Trump at the White House.
Comey said the president urged him to drop the investigation into Flynn, who resigned earlier this year over his contacts with Russian diplomats. Trump fired Comey on May 9. Does Sessions have a different recollection of what had been discussed?
She described Comey’s testimony as “candid” and “thorough” and said she would support a subpoena if needed.
Asked Monday if the White House thought Sessions should invoke executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his conversations with Trump, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer replied, “It depends on the scope of the questions”.
Mr. Comey last week recounted a February 14 incident in which Mr. Trump ordered Mr. Sessions and others out of the room, then allegedly proceeded to tell Mr. Comey that he wanted the FBI to drop an investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with Mr. Kislyak.
“We want to be able to get his side of it”, Lankford said. The Department of Justice denied the meeting.
Comey testified that the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign did not extend to Trump himself during the time Comey was leading the FBI. In an extraordinary moment last week, both DNI Dan Coats and NSA chief Mike Rogers refused to answer questions on the details of those exchanges.
Trump has held several campaign rallies since becoming president, including events in Kentucky and Tennessee.