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Jeff Sessions denies secret meeting with Russians

15 June 2017

Fired FBI director James Comey insinuated during his testimony last week that there was something "problematic" which was a factor in Sessions's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said. "You're impeding this investigation".

However, Sessions refused to say whether he ever spoke with Trump about firing Comey. Sessions previously offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his recusal decision.

When senators on Tuesday asked Mr. Sessions if he had discussed the Russian Federation investigation or Mr. Comey's firing with Mr. Trump, Mr. Sessions refused to say. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty". "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged".

"I don't recall that being discussed", Sessions replied.

He says he is confident that Comey understood and would abide by the Justice Departments rules on communications with the White House about ongoing investigations.

Sessions' strategy throughout the hearing appeared to be to not answer any questions related to his conversations with president Trump.

"I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power and I have no power there", Sessions admitted to the committee's vice chairman, Sen. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign", Mr. Sessions told the panel, his voice rising with pique.

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And when this contradiction was placed in front him at Tuesday's hearing, Sessions was unable to provide an answer.

He opened his testimony with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about "any type of interference" in the 2016 presidential election.

He denied that he violated his recusal by advising the president to fire the then-FBI director, James Comey. Comey testified in a Senate hearing last week that he believed he was sacked "because of the Russian Federation investigation".

Sessions is the most senior member of Trump's administration caught up in the Russian Federation controversy. It had always been reported that Kislyak was in attendance for Trump's foreign policy speech, as were a handful of other foreign dignitaries.

Comey testified last week that he did not tell Sessions that Trump had asked him to drop a probe into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation because he suspected Sessions would soon need to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Democratic senators expressed frustration with Sessions on several occasions. "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice".

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's fiscal 2018 budget.

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Rosenstein repeatedly conveyed his support for Mueller's role at a Senate hearing, held the morning after a close friend of President Donald Trump was quoted in a television interview as saying he was considering dismissing Mueller.

In March he acknowledged he met twice past year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak.

It's a tactic Price sees as a sign of misplaced priorities: "You can add Sessions to the growing list of officials in this administration who are protecting and defending the president, not the U.S. Constitution", he said.

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

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

It would be another six weeks before evidence would emerge that Sessions had in fact had two meetings during the campaign with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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

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Jeff Sessions denies secret meeting with Russians