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Sessions Says in Letter He'll Address Senate Intelligence Panel

15 June 2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to address matters former FBI Director James Comey brought up this week in testimony to the same panel.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

File image of Jeff Sessions.

On March 1, The Washington Post reported that he met twice with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the campaign.

In a statement Thursday, however, the Justice Department said Sessions recused himself in light of his participation in President Donald Trump's campaign, and "it was for that reason, and that reason alone".

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And, given Trump's statement that he had been thinking about the Russian Federation investigation when he made a decision to fire Comey, the former FBI director expressed doubt when asked whether Sessions had adhered to his recusal. "My impression was, something big is about to happen", Comey said, as he recalled the encounter.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein will take his place at the appropriations hearing, he said. Comey was leading that probe.

Sessions noted that several lawmakers on those panels had said they meant to ask him about the Russian Federation investigation, after testimony by former FBI director James Comey before the intelligence committee Thursday.

Feinstein said she was especially concerned after National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers refused to answer questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about possible undue influence by Trump.

During Comey's appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen.

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Lankford said Sessions' testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey's allegations, including Sessions' presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone. "We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said.

In January, Sessions was still a senator from the state of Alabama when he appeared at a hearing before his confirmation as attorney general.

Sessions refused. He may also be under a cloud of suspicion after Comey, in his devastating testimony, suggested the attorney general may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief.

An early backer of Trump, Sessions recused himself from the DOJ investigation during the early days of the administration. "You can't run forever", Leahy said in a Twitter message to Sessions that also referred to "false testimony" by the attorney general about his contacts with Russian officials.

The letter did not say whether Mr. Sessions planned to give public testimony or to appear before the panel behind closed doors.

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With Sessions already under fire for failing to disclose the two meetings with Russians, CNN reported last week that investigators were looking into a possible third Sessions meeting with Kislyak, on the sidelines of an April 27, 2016 campaign event in Washington.

Sessions Says in Letter He'll Address Senate Intelligence Panel