Sessions and the President have had a series of heated exchanges in recent weeks, prompted by the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the probe into Russian Federation interference in the election and alleged collusion by Trump aides, a source close to Sessions told CNN on Tuesday.
Former FBI Director James Comey hinted in his public hearing Thursday that Sessions, a former United States senator from Alabama, may have had additional contacts with Russians, and said in a closed hearing that investigators had received Russian intercepts detailing a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, sources familiar with the briefing told CNN on Thursday.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to speak before a meeting of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Council and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Executive Committee to discuss implementation of the President's Executive Order 13773, at the Department of Justice, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Washington.
Sessions said he learned members of those subcommittees planned to ask him questions about the investigation into Russian election meddling, and decided the Senate Intelligence Committee was a more appropriate venue to field those questions.
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In the most eagerly anticipated USA congressional hearing in years, Comey told lawmakers the Trump administration had lied and defamed him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the president dismissed him on May 9. Shelby chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee.
Briefing congressional appropriators on the Justice Department's budget is a critical part of the attorney general's job.
Comey's appearance raised new questions about the attorney general's relationship with Russian officials and others with ties to President Vladimir Putin. The fact that Sessions would delegate that task to his deputy showed the Russian Federation investigation was distracting him from his core duties.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information", Sessions continued.
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