Sessions frustrated some committee members by refusing to answer questions about the president: Had Trump complained about his recusing himself, as reported in the press?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' repeated refusal to answer lawmakers' skeptical inquiries Tuesday draws on a long legal and political tradition: Private deliberations involving the president and his top advisers often can be kept out of public view.
Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two encounters previous year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions refused to say whether he and Trump discussed FBI Director James Comey's handling of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the election campaign before the president fired Comey on May 9.
When asked by Sen.
"Senator, I'm protecting the president's constitutional right", he told Senator Martin Heinrich. Franken didn't join the calls for Sessions to resign, but he did say no less than three times that Sessions testify before the committee that he sits on.
Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has frequently supported Trump and worked with Sessions when he was in the Senate, offered him a hand, painting a comical portrait of an alleged spy scheme.
Sessions agreed with the thrust of the questions, saying that accusations of collusions leveled against him were unreasonable.
"He didn't ask", the official said, "but going into a hearing and saying we are going to do this ahead of time is not how the process works". I say I didn't meet with them, and now the next thing you know, I'm accused of some reception, plotting some sort of influence campaign for the American election. "So I would push back on that", Sessions said. "I knew that Director Comey, long-time experienced in the Department of Justice, could handle himself well", Sessions told Sen. "You don't walk into any committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with president of United States".
Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.
"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", he added.
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The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he could not elaborate on. "Now, you're not answering questions". Dianne Feinstein, of California, to be a resounding voice in the chamber, while Sen.
Sessions said that he was not sure what was "explicitly" in Trump's mind when he made a decision to fire Comey. As Trump tried to shoo everyone out to talk alone with Comey, Sessions lingered, in Comey's account. "Since you discussed his removal, why wouldn't you discuss the reasons?"
At another point, Sessions implored Harris to slow down her questioning because she was making him "nervous".
"I'm not able to be rushed this fast, it makes me nervous", Sessions said.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR asked Sessions about suggestions arising from Comey's testimony last week that there was something "problematic" about his recusal.Wyden asked Sessions what problematic issues existed. Sessions also would not say anything about any conversations he had with Trump regarding the Russian Federation investigation.
COTTON: And I gather that's one reason you want to testify today in public.
It's not clear if Sessions meant to pay penance to Trump after their relationship strained over the President's concerns that Sessions burned him by stepping aside from the Russian Federation probe - but he did a good job defending the White House anyway.
Last week, Comey told the Senate committee that Trump had fired him to undermine the FBI's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.
As the Senate intelligence committee asked Sessions repeatedly why he refused to answer certain questions regarding Trump, the president was watching.
"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government, or hurt this country which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said. Rosenstein said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.
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