Sessions to Appear Before Senate Panel Probing Russian Links to Election

15 Juin, 2017, 04:17 | Author: Claudine Rigal
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Sessions recused himself from overseeing the federal Russia probe three months ago after The Washington Post reported on a pair of undisclosed meetings Sessions had during the campaign with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.

U.S. lawmakers said Sunday they want answers from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he testifies this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge. However, Comey said he could not discuss those in a public session.

In a closed session afterward, Comey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had received unconfirmed reports that Sessions might have had a third meeting with Ambassador Sergey Kisylak during a reception for then-candidate Donald Trump at Washington's Mayflower Hotel.

The Justice Department has said that while Mr Sessions was there, for a speech by Mr Trump, there were no meetings or private encounters.

Though contact between the White House and the FBI has always been routed through the attorney general or deputy attorney general, Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into Russia's interference with last year's election after failing to disclose meetings with Kislyak during his January confirmation hearing.

Sessions recused himself from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the US.

In a letter on Saturday to Senator Richard Shelby Mr Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations sub-committees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

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"If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney-general involved in that chain?"

Collins and Feinstein spoke on CNN's "State of the Union and Lankford and Schumer appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation".

Sessions did not specify whether he would testify in an open or closed setting.

When the two men were alone, the ex-FBI director said, Trump urged Comey to stop the investigation into fired national security advisor Michael Flynn.

During Comey's appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. "And so there is an opportunity to look at the law with respect to obstruction of justice, to hold a hearing, and also to have those relevant people come before the Judiciary Committee", said Feinstein, who is a member of both committees.

Feinstein acknowledged she "would have a queasy feeling, too" if Comey's testimony was true that Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe the FBI probe into Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation.

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians.

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