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Sessions to face Senate's inquiries

12 Juin 2017

Veteran journalist Dan Rather said on Thursday that one of the biggest takeaways from former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a "marked man" due to his dalliances with Russian officials.

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.

Fellow Republicans pressed President Donald Trump on Sunday to come clean about whether he has tapes of private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey and provide them to Congress if he does - or possibly face a subpoena - as a Senate investigation into collusion with Russian Federation or obstruction of justice extended to a Trump Cabinet member.

"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.

One of the "overlooked" details from Thursday, Rather said, is that "Attorney General Sessions is now a marked man" because Comey revealed yet another undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Russian ambassador to the US and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will appear before the appropriations committee instead, Sessions said.

Comey said President Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

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Comey himself had a riveting appearance before the same Senate panel last week, with some key moments centered on Sessions. So we were convinced - in fact, I think we'd already heard the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to be in contact with Russia-related matters much longer.

Reed says "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, since Sessions had recused himself from the federal probe into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Despite the recusal, Sessions was involved in the decision to fire Comey, which has raised questions among some senators.

Briefing congressional appropriators on the Justice Department's budget is a critical part of the attorney general's job.

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is an ex officio member of the Senate Intelligence committee. White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to say that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence.

Mr. Sessions said it's clear the Russian investigation would become the focus of questioning.

Trump reached out again as president, but Bharara says he refused to return the call, because he considered these contacts inappropriate. In your statement, you said that you and the Federal Bureau of Investigation leadership team decided not to discuss the president's actions with Attorney General Sessions, even though he had not recused himself. Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury.