7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

  • 7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

If he did have a conversation with the ambassador, it was "certainly nothing improper".

Disappointingly, he didn't do so in his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. But he said essentially that he was flustered by a question from Sen.

But by then he was already under an ethical cloud because he had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. "And I know how it's been discussed, but those are the rules that have always been adhered to", he said. Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after the revelations of the two Kislyak meetings.

A former Republican senator, Sessions was an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, but sources say there has been tension between the two men in recent weeks because Trump was annoyed that Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe. "I would have gladly have reported the meeting and encounter that may have occurred, and some say occurred, in the Mayflower if I had remembered it or if it actually occurred, which I don't remember that it did".

In a snappy exchange with Sen. But in a heated, at times contentious hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions repeatedly refused to answer questions about his conversations with President Donald Trump while offering no discernible legal justification for doing so. "I am not stonewalling!".

Sessions' clash with the Democratic senators was the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged Trump in his first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives.

"Attorney General Sessions, this venue is your opportunity to separate fact from fiction and to set the record straight", said Sen.

"We have a right to have full and robust debate within the Department of Justice and encourage people to speak up and argue cases on different sides", he said.

On several occasions, Sessions refused to comment on whether he had discussed the Russian Federation investigation with President Trump.

Sessions said it would be "absurd" to suggest that a recusal from a single investigation would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI. Wyden. There are none.

"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", he added.

Faced with statements by President Trump that he fired Comey in part because of the Russian Federation probe, Sessions stood by his argument that Comey had earned negative reviews due to the "stunning" way he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying Comey never should have spoken publicly about it during the 2016 election campaign. "That responsibility lies with the attorney general of the United States", said Leahy, D-Vermont.

BONOKOSKI: Shooting politicians, America's 'first act' of political terrorism
7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

On Tuesday, Sessions defended his role.

"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff".

Trump made his frustration known publicly on Twitter on June 5, when he criticized Sessions's office for the way it acted on the president's travel ban on visitors from some Muslim-majority countries. "I responded to his comments by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contact with the White House".

Part of that is that Sessions, obviously, was not in the room in Comey's one-on-one meetings with the president, where Comey said Trump directed him to back off the FBI's investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey's decision to announce past year that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said.

Sessions' testimony meant he was a no-show in front of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees. A friend of the president suggested a day earlier that Trump was considering such an ouster.

Rumors have recently circulated that the president may seek to sack Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to head the high-stakes Russian Federation investigation following Comey's ouster. Trump confident Christopher Ruddy, CEO of conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS Newshour on Monday that he thought Trump "was considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", a decision that would require formal action by Rosenstein.

"I'm not able to invoke executive privilege, that's the president's prerogative", Sessions said. "If there were not good cause, it wouldn't matter to me what anybody says".

But the investigation has settled like a cloud over the White House, overshadowing even Trump's stalled domestic agenda and disastrous foreign trip.

" We were asked our opinion and when we expressed it -which was consistent with the letter [firing Comey] and I felt comfortable providing that information in writing", Sessions said.

Rogers and Coats avoided similar questions in their hearing, following reports that Trump personally asked both men to downplay the Russian Federation investigation. And attorneys general of the past did not send their second-in-command in their stead because the members of this committee have questions they may not want to answer. Sessions previously offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his recusal decision.

In testimony Tuesday, Sessions did not deny the meeting outright, but said he could not recall a meeting with Kislyak. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.