Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Four takeaways from Sessions' feisty testimony to Congress about Russia

Four takeaways from Sessions' feisty testimony to Congress about Russia

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions dodged questions about whether he had discussed Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's handling of the FBI's Russian Federation probe with Trump before the president fired Comey on May 9.

Sessions frustrated some committee members by refusing to answer questions about the president: Had Trump complained about his recusing himself, as reported in the press?

Warner cited reports that a friend of Trump's suggested that he was considering removing Mueller from the investigation.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions vehemently denied today that he colluded with an alleged Russian bid to tilt the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump's favour. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign", Sessions said.

Democratic senators pressed Sessions on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege regarding the hearing.

Sessions is likely to be asked about his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and whether there were more encounters that should have been made public. Sessions said he did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a US senator, not as a Trump campaign representative. Rosenstein said he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

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Eric Holder speaks at the 44th Annual Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference on September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. Holder also suggests that Uber change its written cultural values to promote positive behaviour, inclusion and collaboration.

"Senators will allow the chairs to control the hearing", Burr said.

"I don't remember any conversations with him at all about that", Comey said. He did not, at that time, tell me any details about anything that was said that was improper. Former FBI Director James Comey testified earlier before the same Senate intelligence committee claiming he knew of reasons why it would be problematic for Sessions to remain involved in the Russian Federation investigation, even before he recused himself.

The top Trump official explained that the regulation stipulates that Justice Department employees "should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they served as a campaign adviser", as he did during the 2016 election.

In his testimony last week, Comey said he and Trump had a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14 about the investigation into the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

In one tense exchange, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling". Worse, Sessions refused to commit to tell senators more in a classified, closed-door session as Adm. Mike Rogers, the National Security Agency director, did on Monday evening. His insistence that there was no reason to recuse himself from the dismissal of Comey because it was due to Comey's improper handling of the Hillary Clinton's email case and not to end the Russian Federation investigation, as Trump himself said in a TV interview, was just not believable. Comey's decision to announce past year that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said. "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice". The attorney general snapped angrily: "Why don't you tell me?"

Attorney General Sessions also strongly defended his role in FBI Director's Comey's firing saying despite his recusal he had the right to take an active role in management decisions. She then brought up the president's interview with NBC Nightly News, in which Trump acknowledged that Comey's dismissal was related to the Russian Federation probe.

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