Sessions vigorously denies improper Russian Federation contacts

15 June 2017, 01:28 | Isaac Mcdaniel

This time around she was the only senator to hold skittish Keebler Elf Jeff Sessions accountable during his astonishingly numb and condescending testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon. On June 13, Jeff Sessions had his turn in the hot seat, testimony that proves crucial when trying to understand President Donald Trump's relationship with Russian Federation.

(Sessions) "There are none".

- Sessions said he trusted Comey to do his job well, and that's why he didn't get involved when Comey expressed concern about the president interfering in the FBI investigation.

It was still unclear by the end of the almost three-hour hearing why Sessions met with Kislyak privately if not to address reports that Russian Federation was engaged in a hacking campaign to undermine Democrats and, specifically, the party's presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

"Certainly, the more President Trump opens his mouth and/or his Twitter account, the harder it will be for him and his associates to prevail in a fight over executive privilege - but that won't stop them from invoking it, and from requiring Congress or the courts to sort it out", Vladeck said via email. After this was revealed, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigations on March 2.

"What we try to do, I think most cabinet officials, others that you questioned recently, officials before the committee, (is) protect the president's right to do so", said Sessions.

Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign". He does not acknowledge the unanimous conclusions of the US intelligence community that Russian Federation massively intervened in our election.

"I told the AG that what had just happened - him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind - was inappropriate and should never happen".

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported, encounter with Kislyak, at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech.

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In his testimony on Tuesday, Sessions addressed media reports that he may have had a third previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower Hotel previous year.

"Thank you for saying that, Senator Cotton", Sessions said.

Heinrich likened Sessions to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA direct Mike Rogers, who declined to talk about their conversations with Trump last week.

"Attorney General Sessions, this venue is your opportunity to separate fact from fiction and to set the record straight", said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) regarding what Department of Justice policy he was referring to, Sessions could not cite any specific details. "And as a leader of the DOJ, I should comply with the rules obviously", Sessions said. 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.

Rosenstein said that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate". Later, under question, he said, "I recused myself from any investigation into campaign for president but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations".

Comey told the committee in his public testimony last week that he "implored" Sessions to make sure he was never left alone again with the president - but that Sessions did not respond. Trump could recommend to the Justice Department that the special counsel be fired.

"I can not and will not violate my duty to protect the confidential communications I have with the president", he said.

Throughout the hearing Sessions dodged questions on a panoply of topics using his dubious interpretation of executive privilege.



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