Jeff Sessions Testifies He Never Discussed Election With Russians

  • Jeff Sessions Testifies He Never Discussed Election With Russians

Jeff Sessions Testifies He Never Discussed Election With Russians

SESSIONS: I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power, and I have no power to.

Do you ever have any question about anything you wish to ask and get answer? "You are impeding this investigation".

Senators are also expected to ask Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

Americans learned two things from Jeff Sessions' testimony Tuesday: That he lacks a good memory and that most Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee lack spines.

"It did not violate my recusal", Sessions responded.

Citing one example, Mr Sessions said it was "stunning" that the ex-FBI chief "usurped" the Department of Justice's authority by announcing that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails.

"I recused myself from any investigation into the campaigns for president, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false accusations", Sessions insisted.

"Sen. Wyden, I am not stonewall (ing)", Sessions said.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions replied.

SESSIONS: - Policy that goes beyond just the attorney general.

But in the rat-a-tat-tat of follow-up questions, Sessions slowly pried that door open again, by increasingly hedging his answers.

SESSIONS: Senator, I'm protecting the president's constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance to review it.

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.

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians. But fired FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week revealed there was a potential third. The committee can also work with the Trump administration to come up with a solution. I never met with them. "Sen. Harris, let him (Sessions) answer".

As Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, noted in Tuesday's hearing, in July and again in October - following Comey's initial announcement that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of her private email server and his decision to re-open the case in October - Sessions praised the then Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"I believe it was the next day that [Comey] said something, expressed concern, about being left alone with the president", Sessions said. "If he can not decide between those answers - if he can not distinguish between the public interest and Donald Trump's interest - then he is unfit to serve as attorney general".

Less than one week has passed since former FBI Director James Comey gave public testimony before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing. He has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.

What's not clear is if Trump will be forced to invoke executive privilege to stop Sessions from testifying again, or from handing over the documents senators requested Tuesday.

Sessions insisted he stepped aside from the Russian Federation investigation because he was a principal adviser to the Trump campaign, not because he did something wrong or was a subject of the probe.

Comey said he could address the details only in a classified setting - heightening the suspense about what might be asked and answered on Tuesday.

Lawmakers for weeks have demanded answers from Sessions, particularly about meetings he had last summer and fall with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

Comey testified last week that as of February 14, he still believed Sessions had not recused himself - but that he nearly certainly would.

Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules.