U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Tuesday afternoon.
Rosenstein was probably referring to the possibility that Mueller would investigate whether Sessions violated his recusal or whether Comey’s firing might have been an effort to obstruct justice. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked whether Trump had expressed any frustration with Sessions about his decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.
Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two meetings previous year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“I’m not talking about the campaign, I’m talking about what the Russians did”, King responded.
Sessions recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice past year with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
“Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong”, he said, stressing this was not the case.
“I’d come to the conclusion that a fresh start was appropriate and did not mind putting that in writing”, he said, though he admitted he didn’t discuss any job performance problems with Comey before the firing.
Sessions acknowledged that he had met twice with Kislyak – once during the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office – and he did not disclose that during his confirmation hearing.
Democratic senators expressed frustration with Sessions on several occasions.
Sanders would not, however, say whether the President has confidence in Mueller in that role. “Americans don’t want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged or off limits”.
“Not exactly”, Sessions responded, “but that was generally, I remember those charges”.
“He didn’t recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy” regarding contacts with the White House, Sessions said. Republicans were mostly noncombative, if not friendly to Sessions Tuesday, maybe none more so than Sen. “I attended a fair number of meetings on that with President Obama”. Tell us, how many times did you meet with the Russians?
Today’s testimony will be the first for Mr Sessions in a congressional hearing since he became attorney general. He never, he insisted, knew anything about the Russian Federation probe or had any role in it.
Despite Sessions’ statement about the reasons for his recusal, the attorney general did not actually step aside from the Russia probe until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel”. Sessions said he did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a USA senator, not as a Trump campaign representative.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR aggressively asked Sessions about suggestions arising from Comey’s testimony last week that there was something “problematic” about his recusal. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.
Intelligence committee members are also likely to ask Mr Sessions about a possible third undisclosed meeting with Mr Kislyak that is now under investigation, according to media reports.
“It is my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer”, Sessions said. “But that in itself is not problematic”.
“And indeed”, Risch said, “if you run into one in a grocery store, you’re going to have a conversation?”
There had been some question as to whether the hearing would be open to the public, but the Justice Department said Monday he requested it be so because he “believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him”.