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Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

Key takeaways from Attorney General Sessions' testimony

Jeff Sessions, the current USA attorney general, testified in front of the Senate intelligence committee on Monday denying that he had been involved in any collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Senators came ready to tear into him for untruthful confirmation hearing testimony about Russian conflicts; his post-recusal decision to wade back into the Russia investigation and 2016 campaign issues in the context of the firing of former FBI director James B. Comey; his knowledge of pressure tactics wielded by the president on Comey; and his awareness of any taping system in the White House.

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.

In another moment from Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intel Committee today, Senator Kamala Harris was shut down while trying to get an answer out of Sessions on refusing to answer questions without invoking executive privilege.

Sessions said in so many words that he couldn't read Trump's mind, and that as a matter of long-standing policy he wasn't going to repeat conversations he had on the topic with the president.

But the attorney general added that he needed to not discuss his conversations with Trump, to preserve the president's ability to theoretically invoke executive privilege in the future.

Democrats on the committee grew frustrated as Sessions continually refused to answer the questions put to him. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), on the same grounds, Heinrich said, "You are obstructing this congressional investigation".

When senators on Tuesday asked Mr. Sessions if he had discussed the Russian Federation investigation or Mr. Comey's firing with Mr. Trump, Mr. Sessions refused to say.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday.

Accusations of obstruction arose last month when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

In one tense exchange, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling".

At a separate hearing Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he saw no reason to sack Mueller, whom he appointed as special counsel after Comey was fired.

At the start of his remarks, Mr Sessions made an emotional appeal to his colleagues in the Senate.

As expected, lawmakers grilled Sessions about his role in Comey's firing, his own involvement in the Trump campaign and his meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.

The Attorney General tried to escape the hearing without major political damage.

A Trump loyalist and early backer of the billionaire businessman's presidential bid, the 70-year-old Sessions has recused himself from all ongoing Russian Federation investigations.

The memo reportedly recommended Comey's dismissal for having mishandled the Department of Justice investigation into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails, according to VICE.

Sessions, a senior member of Trump's cabinet and an adviser to his election campaign a year ago, had a series of tense exchanges with Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee during about two and a half hours of testimony as they pressed him to recount discussions with the Republican president. "And when asked I said that to the president".

"That's my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said.

Sessions confirmed under oath that ex-FBI Director Comey expressed unease about being called in to talk alone with Trump.

Legal experts said there was some merit to Sessions' argument.

Sessions repeatedly refused to discuss private conversations with Trump on a wide variety of topics.

"That is not the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, is it?" said Senator John Cornyn.

At the conclusion of a February 14 meeting, Comey testified, Trump urged everyone else but Comey to leave the Oval Office, including Sessions.

Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the United States, according to people familiar with the briefing.

Burr said there's a reason for the committee's interest in interviewing these senior intelligence officials: To determine whether there was any collusion between Russian officials and Trump associates, a signt that obstruction was not part of his panel's purview.


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