Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

15 June, 2017, 01:34 | Author: Ora Austin

Members of the Democratic faction within the Senate Intelligence Committee meant to press the former Alabama senator not just on any interactions he had with Russian officials, but his conversations with Donald Trump both pre- and post-election that could implicate any collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin.

All eyes were on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday as he testified before the Senate intelligence committee less than a week after ousted FBI Director James Comey's testimony.

Clinton herself has said Comey's conduct contributed to her loss to Trump, and Trump as a candidate inveighed against Clinton's handling of her emails repeatedly.

Sessions got angry again when Wyden pressed Sessions to explain what facts might be "problematic "about his involvement in the Russian Federation probe, as Comey suggested". I'm not sure I understood your question. Instead, he described his refusal as a long-standing "policy" of the Department of Justice.

When Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA, asked if the Department's policies were contained in a written document, Sessions said, "I believe so".

Like Trump, Sessions had betrayed a deep lack of curiosity about Russia's interference in the presidential election, admitting he had never received an official briefing on it.

But by then he was already under an ethical cloud because he had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

He has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak ever since. Sessions said of that moment: "He was concerned about it, and his recollection of what he said to me about this concern is consistent with my recollection". White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban.

"No", Sessions joked, before admitting, "Yes, I do". He proceeded to blow smoke up Sessions' derriere for the next five minutes, barely letting the Attorney General get a word in edgewise.

Sessions has recused himself from that investigation, even though he took a personal hand in Comey's firing, which Trump said was directly related to the Russian Federation investigation.

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At the same time, Sessions said the US doesn't have a sufficient strategy to deal with cyberattacks.

- Third Sessions-Russia meeting?

In a letter Saturday to Sen.

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe. Shelby chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee.

Sessions has said that those meetings were in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says". "That responsibility lies with the attorney general of the United States", said Leahy, D-Vermont. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

- The details of a February 14 Oval Office meeting, where Sessions and other top aides left the room and Trump talked to Comey alone. In fact, Sessions went to great lengths to make his appearance nearly a homecoming. "I'm not going to discuss any hypotheticals or what might be a factual situation in the future that I'm not aware of today, because I know nothing about the investigation", he firmly told Warner. He said the same thing to King: "I know nothing but what I've read in the paper".

He went on to stress, however, that his recusal "does not and can not interfere with my ability to oversee the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

With that he told the senators he did play an active role in the decision to remove Comey.

One of the main lines of inquiry involved Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's now-famous memo advising the president to fire Comey, which Sessions wholeheartedly endorsed. Trump confident Christopher Ruddy, CEO of conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS Newshour on Monday that he thought Trump "was considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", a decision that would require formal action by Rosenstein.

While Leahy leveled serious concern with Sessions' involvement in the Russian Federation investigation, he also voiced disapproval of Trump's proposed 2018 Department of Justice budget, which slashes spending by more than $1 billion over 2017 levels.

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