Asked about Trump’s own contention that the president fired Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Sessions said: “I guess I’ll just have to let his words speak for themselves. You don’t walk into any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with President of United States”. [nL2N1GF0MT] Sessions is likely to be asked whether he played a role in Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
“I’m not claiming executive privilege, because that’s the President’s power”, Sessions told Sen.
In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for the DOJ policy Sessions cited during the hearing.
Sessions recalled leaving Comey and Trump alone in the Oval Office.
Democrats said Sessions needs to resolve conflicting evidence about contacts with Russians and to explain if and why he recommended Comey’s firing by Trump, an action that could be a violation of his recusal.
Sessions’ testimony suggested that it would be on Comey to shut down inappropriate discussions with Trump. Sessions says he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump and members of Sessions’ staff were also in attendance.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday having an undisclosed meeting with Russia’s ambassador to the USA and declared it was a “detestable and appalling lie” to suggest he was aware of or took part in any collusion between Russian Federation and the election campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House.
Sessions said he “encouraged” Comey to follow the “well-established rules governing any communications with the White House about ongoing investigations”. “President, I can’t talk about that.’ That’s the way that should work”, Sessions said. I am following the historic policies on the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein took Sessions’s original engagement with the Senate Appropriations Committee where he too was asked about Comey’s testimony.
Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal.
Nevertheless, the top senators on the Intelligence Committee vowed they will press Sessions about the role he played in the firing of Comey, his meetings with Russian officials during the campaign and whether the president pressured the Federal Bureau of Investigation over its Russia probe.
If Trump were targeting Mueller, dismissing him would not be a simple matter.
A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told “PBS NewsHour” on Monday the president was weighing whether to fire Mueller.Amid the firestorm over Comey’s dismissal, the Justice Department’s Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into Russian election interference and any collusion by Trump aides.
“The suggestion that I participated with any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie”. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey’s firing.
Sessions’ hearing marked the first time the attorney general had testified before Congress since he recused himself from the Justice Department’s probe into Russian meddling in last year’s election, and since the firing of FBI Director James Comey.