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Principale » Sessions Recused from Russia Probe But Not From 'Defending My Honor'

Sessions Recused from Russia Probe But Not From 'Defending My Honor'

14 Juin 2017

Sessions faced questions over his dealings with Russian officials during President Donald Trump's campaign and what role he had in former FBI Director James Comey's firing.

The public testimony should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Here's a look at the top quotes from Sessions' hearing.

"Declining to answer questions at a congressional hearing about confidential conversations with the President is long-standing executive-branch-wide practice", the official said. An order from the president would not necessarily qualify, he said.

He says it "became clear to me over time that I qualified as a principal adviser to the campaign and it was appropriate and right for me to recuse myself".

Sessions bristled at Wyden, telling the OR senator that people are suggesting through innuendo that he has not been honest. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called it the "height of arrogance" for Sessions not to be present.

Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whether Sessions "lingered" because he knew he wasn't supposed to leave Comey alone with Trump, Sessions ducked: "What I did recall is I did depart", Sessions said, "and Director Comey was sitting in front of the president's desk and they were talking".

However, Sessions said Comey should have spoken to his bosses if he wanted to or was asked to talk to the president about the investigation.

The former Alabama senator, who's removed himself from the U.S. Justice Department's inquiry into the Russian question due to contacts he had previous year with a Kremlin envoy, expressed disappointment that part of the Senate panel's focus is on him.

His impassioned response came after Senate Democrats raised questions about whether Sessions privately met with Sergey Kislyak at an April 2016 foreign policy event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

Amid Harris's questioning on whether Sessions had any contacts with sketchy Russians during the 2016 RNC, the California senator pressed the talcum powder user for brief and direct answers, rather than his vague, rambling Foghorn Leghorn soliloquies. National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, both declined to discuss their own Trump communications during a hearing last week.

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Sessions recommended the firing last month, raising questions about whether he violated his recusal from the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation.

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

Comey recounted a one-on-one meeting with Trump during which he said Trump suggested he back off the investigation of Flynn.

While he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Sessions said, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations".

Thursday, Comey told the committee that it's his belief that he was sacked by Trump to "relieve" pressure from the Justice Department's inquiry.

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.

"Mr. Comey, perhaps he didn't know, but I basically recused myself the first day I got into the office, because I never accessed files".

Sessions' appearance before the intelligence committee is an indication of just how much the Russian Federation investigation has shaded his tenure.

He says he is confident that Comey understood and would abide by the Justice Departments rules on communications with the White House about ongoing investigations.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said Sessions' "silence speaks volumes".