Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

Thursday, 15 Jun, 2017

When Harris, the only woman of color on the committee (and the only African-American woman in the U.S. Senate), pushed him to cite a specific rule and not a general "principle", Sessions kept going on about the principle. Sessions repeatedly stated Tuesday that his recommendation that Trump fire Comey did not conflict with his recusal from the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation. Rosenstein said he has. "The questioning grew so contentious at one point that Harris had to be reminded by Committee Chairman Sen".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in by Senator Richard Burr.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

'The director's thinking was not clear, ' Sessions said, saying it would have been better had the investigation 'never been discussed publicly'.

He denied that he purposefully left out his two 2016 meetings with Russians at his confirmation hearing.

The attorney general said he learned after the fact that Kislyak was at a reception held in conjunction with a foreign-policy speech that then-candidate Trump gave at Washington's Mayflower Hotel in April 2016, which Sessions attended.

The Attorney-General has been under a cloud since he recused himself from the Russia investigation amid suspicion over undeclared meetings with the Russian ambassador. "I was standing there".

Democratic senators have seized on the possibility of a third meeting to suggest that Sessions has not been forthcoming about the extent of his communications with the ambassador.

Sen. Franken was calling out the Attorney General.

"I take the president at his word - that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey said.

And when this contradiction was placed in front him at Tuesday's hearing, Sessions was unable to provide an answer. That was not so, he said. Comey testified publicly last week the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of reasons it would be problematic for Sessions to remain involved in the probe before he recused himself.

He denied that he violated his recusal by advising the president to fire the then-FBI director, James Comey. Harris let him answer.

Harris: You referred to a longstanding DOJ policy, can you tell us what policy it is that you're talking about? "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising.

"Did Donald Trump or any of his associates in the campaign collude with Russian Federation in hacking those emails and releasing them to the public?" He did not, at that time, tell me any details about anything that was said that was improper.

It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway. A friend of the president suggested a day earlier that Trump was considering such an ouster. Kasowitz accused Comey of leaking "privileged communications" to the media, which Comey admitted he did for the goal of obtaining a special counsel to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 election.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told BuzzFeed News that Comey raised "very troubling and disturbing questions about the president's attempts to make the investigation into Michael Flynn go away". I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat.

In saying so, Sessions was joining the legions of Democrats who have complained about how Comey handled the investigation into Clinton's email server.

Comey, who at the time was the nation's top criminal investigator, made a decision to take notes after his unusually frequent meetings with Trump, he said, because of the "nature of the person" he was dealing with. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

It was way back on January 10, during then Senator Sessions confirmation hearing to become Attorney General, that Senator Franken asked a key question: What would Sessions do as a Attorney General if there was evidence that anyone with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russians?

Sessions testified that Trump never asserted the privilege instructing him not to be as forthcoming as possible, but that his priority was "protecting the president's constitutional right" to withhold certain information if Trump needed to down the road. "This was the first time that question had been posed", he said.