Collusion with Russia a "detestable and appalling lie": Sessions

14 Juin, 2017, 12:18 | Author: Lucrece Courtet

"You're impeding this investigation".

Sessions refused to say if he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he would not disclose private communications with the president.

Asked to explain his decision, the attorney general said he believed he had to recuse himself under Department of Justice rules.

"Well, we talked about that", Sessions responded.

"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 said, according to ABC News.

Sessions bristled at Wyden, telling the OR senator that people are suggesting through innuendo that he has not been honest.

"Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged and off-limits", Sen.

Wyden responded: "He said it's "problematic" and I asked you what was problematic about it". Sessions said he was following Justice Department policy and would not discuss confidential communications with the president. Angus King (I-Maine), the senator pressed Sessions on his refusal to answer.

Mr Sessions told committee members he could not speak about his discussions with the President concerning Mr Comey, as they were covered under executive privilege.

As Sessions testified, Trump, who traveled to Wisconsin to discuss a workforce development initiative, declined to answer a reporter's question about whether he had confidence in his attorney general. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to admonish Harris to let Sessions answer.

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His impassioned response came after Senate Democrats raised questions about whether Sessions privately met with Kislyak. The Attorney General, who recused himself from the Russia probe, said he was never briefed about the Russian election meddling, adding he has no knowledge of any conversations between Moscow officials and anyone connected with the Trump campaign.

He says it "became clear to me over time that I qualified as a principal adviser to the campaign and it was appropriate and right for me to recuse myself".

But Sessions has not addressed this issue directly, nor broader questions about his relationship with Comey. He also said he doesn't recall any conversations with the ambassador during a reception held ahead of Trump's speech. I never met with them.

Speaking under oath in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr Sessions insisted the former FBI director's investigation into ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign played no part in his dismissal.

Rosenstein said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.

Comey testified last week that the president asked him to drop an investigation into his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

And asked about Mr Trump's own contention that he fired Mr Comey with the Russian Federation probe in mind, and regardless of any recommendation from anyone else, Mr Sessions said: "I guess I'll just have to let his words speak for themselves".

Sessions pushed back on several statements made by Comey in his testimony last week, including Comey's assertion that Sessions shrugged off his concerns about being left alone with Trump. He has acknowledged two meetings past year with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak. While Democrats complained about a lack of answers, Republicans countered that the Sessions hearing showed a lack of evidence that tied the Trump Campaign to anything nefarious involving Russian Federation. Sessions reiterated Tuesday those meetings were in his capacity as a lawmaker and not about the campaign.

Sessions was sworn in February 9 but did not actually step away from the investigation until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed Kislyak meetings.

Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting. I've never received any detail, briefing on how hacking occurred or how information was alleged to have influenced the campaigns.

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