Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon in an extraordinary public session in which senators are grilling the nation's chief law enforcement officer on his prior contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and his involvement in the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
In March he acknowledged he met twice past year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. Sessions said he attended a reception with two dozen people, along with his staff and President Trump.
Press reports had suggested that the meeting might have occurred at a Russia-friendly foreign policy speech given by then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMayor takes down town hall's portraits of Trump and Pence Kucinich: "A co-equal branch Tillerson defends State dept. cuts, says America is "leaning in" MORE at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in 2016".
Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't deny that he met with Russians, but said that he didn't recall meeting with Russians.
His voice rising, Sessions fired back on any suggestion that he may have been involved in any coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign - now the focus of the federal investigation into Russian interference in the election. I would be especially curious about the content of the conversation since Session described Comey as being "concerned".
Mr Comey testified last week that Mr Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Mr Trump again.
During his January confirmation hearing, he failed to disclose two meetings he held with Russian officials.
When it later emerged he had in fact had several meetings with Kislyak, some Democrats accused him of lying to Congress and demanded his resignation.
The high stakes of Tuesday's hearing prompted speculation that Sessions would protect his private conversations with Trump by declaring executive privilege.
While he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Mr Sessions said, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honour against scurrilous and false allegations".
Germany and France say Britain could change its mind over Brexit
It was in the Conservative manifesto and was repeated after the marauding terror attacks in London Bridge and Borough Market . "They may well discuss aspects of Brexit but the main focus will be on counterterrorism", May's spokesman said on Monday.
Comey said federal law enforcement officials had expected Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, strongly suggesting he knew more than has been publicly revealed about Sessions's contacts with Moscow.
If Trump were targeting Mueller, dismissing him would not be a simple matter.
In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Rosenstein offered assurances about Mueller.
CNN's Manu Raju contributed to this report.
Sessions had previously recused himself from the Russia investigation, saying that he had not disclosed two separate meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak previous year. Sessions requested an open hearing, though he made clear in his opening remarks, and at several times during his testimony, that there were some things he would not discuss, including confidential conversations with the president.
Comey's testimony will form a dramatic sequel to Comey's own appearance before the Senate intelligence committee last week, and he will have to tackle several open loops that emerged during that appearance, which twisted the knife in an administration that has struggled to extricate itself from the Russian Federation cloud.
After the Post story, Sessions issued a statement in which he clarified, "I never met with Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign".
"I think it depends on the scope of the questions", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Check back later to watch Sessions' testimony live.
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