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Sessions' testimony to Congress Tuesday to be open to public

13 Juin 2017

U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions will testify at an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday in connection with the ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and allegations of collusion by campaign aides of President Donald Trump.

Senator Jack Reed said "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. He said under oath at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

But Sessions will be able to corroborate, or not, details of Comey's version of events before and after the encounter, during which, Comey says, Trump all but directed him to back off an investigation into retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who until hours earlier had been Trump's national security adviser.

"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said of Sessions.

After the meeting, Comey told Sessions that he did not want to be alone anymore with Trump and "it can't happen that you get kicked out of the room and the president talks to me". Those terms do not necessarily exclude other options such as being a member of a group, reception, gathering, or meeting with a Russian official in which you might not have personally and directly conversed with the official.

President Trump has suggested that he has tapes of their private meeting and the Senate committee says they want to hear them, if the exist. "Totally illegal? Very 'cowardly!'"

There is a way that Sessions could skirt around having to directly answer these questions, however.

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The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said he publicly disclosed memos about his meeting with Trump because he felt the White House may deceive the public about the nature of the meetings and Comey's firing.

Here's why Sessions is at the center of so much, and here's how he can help us better understand the still-unraveling Trump-Russia-FBI investigation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday and said there's no good reason why at least part of Sessions' testimony couldn't be public. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.

Along with the Senate committee, the FBI has been conducting a criminal investigation.

He said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would appear before the subcommittees. This as the first lady and Barron are waking up in the white house moving in over the weekend to join president trump there full time now that Barron is out of school. But according to Comey, this comment came in the middle of an attempt by Trump to get Comey to "lift the cloud" of the Russian Federation investigation off of the Trump administration. Comey spoke of receiving pressure from President Donald Trump to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

Multiple sources confirmed that the president was disappointed with the attorney general's recusal - a decision Trump only learned about minutes before it was announced in March.