AG Jeff Sessions testifies before Senate Intelligence Committee

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Sessions will testify publicly Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hastily scheduled hearing just days after Comey last week accused Trump of lying about his dismissal and pressuring him to end an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Sessions volunteered that information.

Testifying last week, Comey said after that "disturbing" private talk with Trump, he went to the attorney general and told Sessions "it can't happen that you get kicked out of the room and the president talks to me".

"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any private conversations, with any Russian officials at the Mayflower hotel", Sessions said. Martin Heinrich, who took issue with Sessions declining to answer questions. "It's one more obstacle that this administration and DoJ have to overcome".

In his confirmation hearing, Sessions testified that he did not have "communications" with the Russians during the presidential campaign.

Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Trump campaign-Russia investigation.

Sessions declined to comment on those reports, stating only that he had "confidence" in Mueller and that it would not be appropriate for him to fire the special counsel.

Trump called the sworn testimony by Comey, the nation's former top law enforcement officer, "cowardly" on Twitter, but Republican senators largely praised Comey for his service and his detailed reconstruction of events.

Mr Comey did not end an FBI investigation into Mr Flynn, and also refused to pledge his loyalty to the President. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here".

But his testimony will be a dramatic sequel to the fired FBI chief's tour de force that twisted a knife in President Donald Trump's administration over the Russian Federation investigation and still has Washington buzzing. "Second, what safeguards are there now so that he doesn't interfere?" A friend of Trump's says the president is considering firing Mueller, which would be a colossal constitutional breach. "How does that fit" with recusal? he asked.

As the testimony moved forward, Donald Jr. made a decision to take to Twitter to give his thoughts just as he had during the James Comey testimony last week. Since Sessions is recused from these matters, he would likely would send such a recommendation to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. As he prepares to testify in front of his old colleagues on Tuesday, Sessions is expected to be pressed about the independence of the Justice Department, why Comey found his inclusion in the Russian Federation investigation so "problematic", and whether his recollections confirm Comey's testimony.

At his confirmation hearing on 10 January, Sessions told the Senate: "I did not have communications with the Russians", a claim that was later proved untrue when the Washington Post revealed he had had two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the campaign.

- Sessions corroborated that Comey came to him the next day and asked not to be alone with the president. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

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The attorney general has recused himself from the Russia investigation - a decision he sought to cast on Tuesday as resulting from his role on the Trump campaign, rather than because of any inappropriate interaction with Russian officials.

In his testimony last week, Comey said he and Trump had a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14 about the investigation into the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. They say he did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a senator, not as a surrogate of the Trump campaign.

"The policy is based on the principle that the President -" Sessions said. He is a good guy.

Wyden responded: "He said it's "problematic" and I asked you what was problematic about it". "And so I don't doubt that he was", said Sessions, as he was questioned by committee Chairman Sen. He acknowledged under Democratic questioning that he had never previously suggested to Comey or anyone else that he was failing to perform - something most any employer would do before firing an employee.

Rosenstein testified that he is the only one who has the authority to fire Mueller, who was appointed following the May 9 ousting of James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, and that he had seen no good cause to do so. Mark Warner (D-VA) hoped he would clear up all questions relating to the Russian Federation investigation.

Sessions may also have to answer for what role, if any, he played in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The hearing comes on the heels of two canceled appearances, with Sessions citing Comey's testimony last week. Now, he is sending Rosenstein, his deputy, to those hearings instead.

The questions have dogged his tenure as attorney general and led him three months ago to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

"I regret that I do not", Rosenstein said. "I am confident that he will have sufficient independence", he told a Senate panel evaluating a Justice Department budget request.

But with the Mueller investigation just getting started, the Russian Federation inquiry is likely to loom over the administration for months to come.

Sessions denied the Mayflower meeting took place.

Sessions did not ask the White House about whether Trump was invoking executive privilege over his testimony and Trump did not opt to assert the privilege, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

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