Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he was never briefed on Russian Federation probe

Bennie Garza | 14 June, 2017, 11:20

Here is what we learned from the testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who answered questions about his contacts with Russian officials, his recusal from the federal Russia probe, and his role in the firing of former FBI director James Comey.

Unlike Heinrich, the female senator was reprimanded by the committee chair, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Sessions also testified that he had never had any meetings with officials from Russian Federation or anywhere else about interference in the U.S. election. "And when asked I said that to the president".

Comey recounted a one-on-one meeting with Trump during which he said Trump suggested he back off the investigation of Flynn. A highly educated woman of color, focused on getting answers and who knows what she is doing, grilling the racist, old, incompetent Attorney General in front of the country on TV was way too much to bear.

"It's unacceptable that Sessions - the top law enforcement official in the country - can not name his legal basis for evading questions", Harris tweeted after he questioning concluded.

"If I don't qualify it, you'll accuse me of lying", Sessions shot back.

Democrats took a harsher tone, insisting Sessions had taken liberties in interpreting rules that enabled him to evade their questions. For one thing, the attorney general testified in a separate congressional hearing: "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller".

Sessions delivered a fierce opening statement denying any contacts with Russian officials about the campaign.

Sessions replied, "I am not stonewalling".

The Arizona lawmaker asked Sessions a series of hard-hitting questions about what issues Sessions brought up in his conversations with Russian officials.

"I don't believe I had any conversation with any Russian businessman or Russian nationals, although a lot of people were at the convention", Sessions said.

However, he denied reports of a third meeting at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, before a foreign policy speech by then-candidate Donald Trump in April 2016.

Washington power-players have pushed back against the suggestion that the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation affair could be fired, moving to tamp down the sudden talk bubbling up from allies of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The testimony by Sessions marked the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged Trump's first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives. 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.

Sessions, one of Trump's biggest supporters during the campaign, has had to fend off allegations of wrongdoing. The FBI is part of the Justice Department that Sessions heads. Harris also asked him if, ahead of the hearing, Sessions and his aides reviewed DOJ's policies on his ability to answer questions under oath about conversations with a president. What happened when Sessions left the room, and Trump allegedly pressed Comey to end an investigation?

Sessions said that the reason he recused himself on 2 March was related to justice department regulations that require recusal by an official from any investigation into a campaign in which that official participated. The combative interaction occurred Tuesday.

"I do not", Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations. If I wanted to ask questions about that investigation, I'd ask those of [deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein.

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