Attorney General Jeff Sessions captivated Washington Tuesday, beating back rumors of a private meeting with Russia’s ambassador to the USA and mounting a defense for President Donald Trump, one week after former FBI Director James Comey artfully unloaded on both men.
Sessions confirmed Comey’s account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting.
In his testimony, Mr Comey said he had asked Mr Sessions not to leave him alone with Mr Trump following meetings where he said Mr Trump had asked Mr Comey for his loyalty.
Democratic Sen Ron Wyden of OR asked Mr Sessions about suggestions arising from Mr Comey’s testimony last week that there was something “problematic” about his recusal. Ron Wyden aggressively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions on just what former FBI Director James Comey thought was “problematic” about Sessions that would ultimately lead to his recusal in the federal Russian Federation probe. “At all times throughout the course of the campaign, the confirmation process, and since becoming attorney general, I have dedicated myself to the highest standards”.
Sessions responded that he had confidence in Mueller.
Sessions has recused himself from federal probes into Russia’s election meddling because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. Republicans were mostly noncombative, if not friendly to Sessions Tuesday, maybe none more so than Sen.
The attorney general also sought to cast that recusal as stemming from his role on the Trump campaign, rather than because of any inappropriate interaction with Russian officials.
The nation’s top law enforcement officer insisted Tuesday that he was “not stonewalling” by declining to answer some questions involving “confidential communications” with President Trump, and any suggestion he colluded with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election was “an appalling and detestable lie“.
According to Comey, Trump said of Flynn: “He is a good guy”. A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told “PBS NewsHour” on Monday the president was weighing whether to fire Mueller.Amid the firestorm over Comey’s dismissal, the Justice Department’s Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into Russian election interference and any collusion by Trump aides. Warner cited reports that a friend of Trump’s suggested that he was considering removing Mueller from the investigation. Sessions did not say he committed to raising the issue with Trump or making sure the president was aware of the rules around communications between Trump and DOJ.
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. “So, I need to be correct as best I can”, Sessions said.
A report in The New York Times said the president had indeed weighed the possibility, was dissuaded by staff, and has since landed on the idea of simply pressuring Mueller by letting him know he could be fired.
“Mr. Comey said there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn’t talk about them”.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel on Russian Federation issues last month.
While asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his refusal to answer questions Tuesday concerning conversations he may have had with President Donald Trump, the California Democrat was interrupted by Sen.
He was repeatedly asked if he and Donald Trump had discussed the Russian Federation investigation before James Comey was sacked, and refused to answer. “You’re impeding this investigation”, Heinrich said.
As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he’s had with Trump.
The former Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, one of Trump’s most avid supporters on the campaign trail, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January he had no dealings with Kremlin officials past year.
Heinrich said Sessions’ silence Tuesday spoke volumes. “I just don’t remember it”.