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New Mexico Senator frustrated by Sessions' refusal to answer questions

14 Juin 2017

He is set to testify hours after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared in the Senate and said he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director he appointed as special counsel to oversee the Russian Federation investigation.

If Comey had information that Sessions would need to recuse himself, he said, that would have been "double reason" to talk to Boente. Sessions reiterated Tuesday those meetings were in his capacity as a lawmaker and not about the campaign.

"I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States", he told the hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Sessions told senators Tuesday that when Comey approached him about the Oval Office meeting, "he did not tell me at that time any details about anything that was said that was improper".

Comey's testimony last week to the Senate Intelligence committee's investigation into alleged Russian meddling, he discussed his experience as an anonymous leaker. "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged or off limits".

Sessions adds that he has no knowledge of "any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign".

Sessions says he recused himself from the investigation into President Trump's campaign ties to Russian Federation because he helped with the campaign not because he had done something wrong.

Harris followed up, "Sir, I am not asking about you the principle".

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Mr Comey said that, after an encounter with President Donald Trump in which he said Mr Trump pressured him to back off an investigation into the former national security adviser, Mr Comey "implored" Mr Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with the president again - but that Mr Sessions did not respond. White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban. I am concerned that the president still does not recognize the severity of the threat.

Sessions was sworn in February 9 but did not actually step away from the investigation until March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on his two previously undisclosed Kislyak meetings.

Comey himself had a riveting appearance before the same Senate panel last week, with some key moments centered on Sessions.

But the attorney general added that he needed to not discuss his conversations with Trump, to preserve the president's ability to theoretically invoke executive privilege in the future. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016.

Trump had pressured Comey to drop the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's alleged Moscow ties. "There are none. I can tell you that for absolute certainty".

Sessions said it would be "absurd" to suggest that a recusal from a single investigation would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI.

"I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice".

Those calls have escalated since fired FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers last week that the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election.

New Mexico Senator frustrated by Sessions' refusal to answer questions