Jeff Sessions Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of his successor James Comey at the FBI headquarters in 2013

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face questions on Tuesday about his dealings with Russian officials and whether he intentionally misled Congress as a Senate panel investigates alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal.

"Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign", Sessions continued.

That left many of Sessions' interrogators scratching their heads, though Sessions explained it by saying he was complying with a "longstanding Department of Justice practice" to protect confidential information. The evasiveness of the U.S. federal government's top law enforcement officer and legal advisor left some of the senators doing the grilling visibly frustrated.

The attorney general added that he recued himself from the DOJ probe into Russian Federation not because of his contacts with Kislyak but because the department prohibits officials from investigating campaigns that they had previously advised. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. "It is my responsibility to ensure the department is running properly".

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King grilled Sessions over his refusal to discuss whether President Donald Trump had discussed the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the election prior to his decision last month to fire Comey.

"You raised your right hand here today and said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich said.

But Sessions appeared to have been invoking executive privilege on behalf of the president.

"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", Sessions added.

At one point, Sen.

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich accused Sessions of "impeding" the Senate Committee's probe into Trump's possible Russian Federation connections, and appeared to threaten the AG with an obstruction of justice charge.

The Justice Department subsequently released decades-old memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that it said supported Sessions' position.

Meanwhile, he said it was not improper for Trump to meet with the then FBI Director James Comey, but it was improper for Comey to disclose the content of his one-to-one talks with Trump.

Harris was questioning Sessions about policies from the Department of Justice he was citing as the reason he was unable to answer certain questions during his testimony.

Those close to the president don't know if there are tapes.

Sessions says there is a long-standing tradition that the attorney general does not comment on conversations with the President.

Questions remain, especially about the Comey firing.

Comey told lawmakers last week that he knew details that made Sessions's involvement in the FBI Russia probe "problematic". "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged".

(CNN) A generally mild-mannered Jeff Sessions expressed outrage and indignation during his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee hearing on the Russian Federation investigation on Tuesday. Those involved his communications with the president as well as whether Rogers took notes of those communications.

Among the Trump associates under investigation by the bureau is Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Sessions called that last event an "encounter", and also stressed it was so brief he doesn't remember it.

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