Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he wants his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee to be open to the public. That prompted at least some members of the committee to push for a closed hearing, or at least some allotted time to meet with Sessions privately after the public forum, aides said. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies. The attorney general may also face questions on this.A Justice Department spokeswoman said Sessions requested the open setting because "he believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him."Media reports last week said Sessions offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's Russian Federation probe".
Comey said the FBI had information in mid-February on Sessions that would have made it "problematic" for him to continue leading a federal probe into Russian attempts to influence the presidential election.
"Our judgment, as I recall, is that [Sessions] was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons".
"There are many unanswered and troubling questions, so the attorney general needs to be forthcoming", said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Sessions is likely to be questioned over the truthfulness of his answers in January.A spokesman for the Justice Department said after media reports emerged in March of the meetings that Sessions had answered honestly because the encounters were part of his job as a senator and not as a surrogate of the Trump campaign.
Sessions announced Friday that he actively sought the opportunity to testify and announced Monday that it would be before the public, not behind closed doors.
Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.
Members of both the Senate and House intelligence committees have insisted since that hearing that it is important they verify Comey's testimony.
Mattis Calls Out China's 'Contempt' For Nations' 'Interests'
It allegedly works with a North Korean trading company, Tangun, which the US accuses of securing supplies for the nuclear program. China's public vote to penalize North Korea is a new chapter in what appears to be increasingly strained ties between the two.
The hearing will bring sharp questioning for Sessions and likely some uncomfortable moments from the Trump administration.
The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET.
They also want him to explain his role in the firing of Comey, despite the attorney general's recusal in March from the Russian Federation investigation following revelations of his meetings with Kislyak.
On Wednesday, Comey released his planned opening statement to the committee which included his request of Sessions that the attorney general "prevent any future direct communication" between himself and Trump. "'He is a good guy".
The Feb. 14 meeting is critical to allegations from Trump's detractors that the president obstructed justice when he told Comey, according to Comey's version, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".
As for the timing of Sessions' recusal, Comey said the FBI expected the attorney general to take himself out of the matters under investigation weeks before he actually did. "I hope you can let this go".
"[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling". A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public. Trump's personal lawyer also challenged Comey's account, saying the president never asked for the investigation to be dropped. He was an early and vocal supporter of Trump during the campaign, when most Republican lawmakers dismissed the candidate.
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