U.S.

Jeff Sessions does little to inspire public confidence

Jeff Sessions does little to inspire public confidence

Sessions said during questioning by senators that allegations of Trump-Russia collusion outlined in a private intelligence dossier produced by a former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele were false.

Rogers and Coats avoided similar questions in their hearing, following reports that Trump personally asked both men to downplay the Russian Federation investigation. But he denied an alleged third encounter with Kislyak, at an April 27, 2016 reception for Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials. I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat. The latest tempest includes stories that Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel who picked up where Comey left off.

"People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest about matters, and I've tried to be honest", he said.

Instead, Sessions said his recusal, which came in early March, was because of "a Department of Justice regulation" that he felt required him to step away. Sessions previously offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his recusal decision.Sessions also refused to answer whether any Justice Department officials had discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the Russian investigations.Russia has denied repeatedly that it interfered in the USA election, and Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign with Moscow.Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told Sessions, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling".

"I also think it's very clear, despite what he attempted to assert in his testimony, that Attorney General Sessions wasn't actually confused by my question during his January confirmation hearing".

Similarly, he did not answer whether Trump had expressed concern to Sessions about the attorney general's March decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Democratic senators expressed frustration with Sessions on several occasions.




Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting. Sessions' Democratic critics quipped that's like refusing to answer questions in court, because you might later request immunity under the Fifth Amendment.

Democratic senators pressed Sessions on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege regarding the hearing.

The appearance was Sessions's first sworn public testimony since being confirmed as attorney general in February, and comes as political intrigue pulses through the United States capital following Comey's explosive testimony last week. As Sessions answered, Harris followed up by asking whether he could provide the committee with his notes. Sessions replied that it is "longstanding policy" in the Department of Justice not to do so.

"Can you please tell me what you mean when you say 'appropriate?'" Harris shot back.

"Our Department of Justice rules on proper communication between the department and the White House have been in place for years". He refused to say whether Trump ordered him out of the room so that the president could tell the then Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, to go easy on Michael Flynn.

FRANKEN: Yeah. And what's odd about it is in the press conference after that, he said that if I had just slowed down a little bit, I would have, you know, I should have, in retrospect, said that I had met twice with the Russian ambassador.


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