U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in the hot seat Tuesday as he's expected to be grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee on his meetings with a Russian official and any discussions he had with the president before FBI Director James Comey was sacked.
The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said he contacted Sessions after a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office where Sessions and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, were asked to leave and Comey was alone with the president. "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller", he said. However, according to a source, Sessions is expected to claim executive privilege, insisting it would be inappropriate to discuss conversations with the president in an open setting.
Sessions acknowledged that he had met twice with Kislyak - once during the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office - and he did not disclose that during his confirmation hearing. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
On Tuesday, Sen. Warner wanted to know if Sessions later asked Comey what happened in his one-on-one meeting with the president.
"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff".More news: S.Korea's Moon names former navy chief as defence minister
But they hope the hearing offers a chance to at least get Sessions on the record as either answering or dodging answers about pivotal events related to Comey and the FBI's investigation.
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. "Maybe it's because multiple Democrats on this committee have stated that they have seen no evidence, thus far, after six months of our investigation and eleven months of an FBI investigation of any such collusion", Cotton said.
And would Sessions and Rosenstein risk being fired themselves and refuse to fire Mueller?
Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.
Sessions added that Comey was "concerned" about the conversation, and what Comey remembered telling Sessions about their conversation "is consistent with my recollection". Sessions denied that it did.More news: How Long Does the iOS 11 Beta Take to Install?
"I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States".
In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions also contradicted a contention made by former FBI Director James Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.
Even before Sessions testified, attention in Washington swivelled to whether Trump might seek to fire Robert Mueller, named last month by the Justice Department to head a federal probe into the Russian Federation issue.
He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify. "The Senate and the American people deserve to know exactly what involvement with the Russian investigation he had before his recusal, what safeguards are in place to prevent his meddling, and why he felt it was appropriate to recommend the firing of Director Comey when he was leading that investigation".
He responded to questions regarding comments Monday from Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and a friend of Donald Trump, that Trump might fire Robert S. Mueller III. Trump's personal lawyer also challenged Comey's account, saying the president never asked for the investigation to be dropped.More news: Sarfraz steers Pakistan into Champions Trophy semis
"As such", he said, "I have no knowledge about this investigation, as it is ongoing today, beyond what has been publicly reported".
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