Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Sessions to Appear Before Senate Panel Probing Russian Links to Election


Attorney General Jeff Sessions has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested that the committee hearing be public.

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.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on.

Sessions originally was scheduled to appear before House and Senate appropriations subcommittees this week.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's recent testimony....it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum", Sessions wrote, saying the intelligence committee has access to relevant, classified information.

Comey said Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Comey also has said Sessions did not respond when he complained he didn't "want to get time alone with the president again".

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The Senate Appropriations Committee had called in the attorney general to testify about budget issues.

Sessions' testimony is expected to occur Tuesday in a closed meeting and to focus on the moments leading up to the private February 14 conversation where, according to Comey, President Trump pressed the then-FBI director to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all", said Sen. Feinstein said she was especially concerned after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers refused to answer questions from the intelligence committee about possible undue influence by Trump.

During his testimony, Comey said the FBI had learned about something regarding Sessions "that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic". He would likely face questions from senators not only about meetings with Kislyak and subsequent recusal from the federal Russian Federation probe, but also about his involvement with the President's firing of Comey last month considering Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation, which Comey had been leading.

In a letter Saturday to Sen.

"It depends on the scope of the questions", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said when asked whether Sessions would invoke executive privilege.

Sessions recused or removed himself from the DOJ investigation during the early days of the Trump administration, because he was one of the campaign officials who had met with Russia's ambassador to the United States before the election.

Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., according to people familiar with the briefing.

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