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Sessions rebukes Russia ties 'lie'

14 Juin 2017

"I don't have any information that he had done so", Sessions replied. He said that Trump could do so, if he chose, but that the president had not done so.

He was involved in Comey's firing because he oversees the FBI, Sessions said, adding, "to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation" would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI would be "absurd".

Sessions' testimony came hours after Rosenstein told a different Senate panel that without "good cause" he would ignore any attempt by Trump to fire Mueller.

The White House, which was slow to say whether President Trump has confidence in Sessions, finally confirmed at the end of last week that the president does have confidence in the country's top law enforcement officer. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) during his highly anticipated testimony on Tuesday as he claimed his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation was proper.

So, in the midst of all this, Sessions insists he could still properly recommend Comey's firing. "That answer in my view doesn't pass the smell test".

Sessions is the highest-ranking official to be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russian hackers who are believed to have meddled in last year's election and the Trump presidential campaign. Kamala Harris of California was cut off again while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"The Constitution provides the head of the executive branch certain privileges, and one of them is confidentiality of communications", Sessions said.

Sessions notably recused himself from his role as chief investigator in the Russia investigation in March after it was revealed that he did not disclose two meetings he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the lead-up to the 2016 election. It has also been reported that Congress is probing an alleged third meeting.

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He denied that he purposefully left out his two 2016 meetings with Russians at his confirmation hearing.

Mr Sessions also repeatedly refused to answer questions about his private conversations with the president. And he advised the president as much, mainly for the way Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

A key Trump supporter, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, said, "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".

Later Tuesday, Heinrich told CNN that Sessions should be expected to answer all questions.

Sessions says he was involved in Comey's firing because he oversees the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Well, some of that leaked out of the committee that he said in closed session", Sessions said.

The nation's top law enforcement official - who has recused himself from all ongoing Russian Federation investigations - has himself become a focal point in congressional probes into the allegations of election meddling, in possible collusion with Trump's team, that have dogged the young administration. He also said he was unaware of any other undisclosed conversations between members of Mr. Trump's circle and Russian officials.

He says Comey's decision to announce the results of the investigation without Justice Department approval was "a stunning development" because "the FBI is the investigative team".