The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee 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.
In a public hearing live-streamed on Senate Intelligence Committee's website, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified for the first time before Congress on Tuesday since he recused himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts previous year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.
The attorney general vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations", adding that any suggestion about his knowledge of a collusion would be a "detestable and appalling lie".
Trump recently tweeted in response to charges by Comey that the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director should hope there are no recordings of meetings between the two men.
Sessions said he trusted Comey to do his job well, and that's why he didn't get involved when Comey expressed concern about the president interfering in the FBI investigation.
Last week's explosive testimony from Comey raised further questions about the claims that Russian Federation had attempted to interfere in the election, with the ongoing FBI investigation continuing to look into the alleged links.
"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel".
U.S. attorney general next in scandal's spotlight
He had told politicians at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. The Senate Appropriations Committee had called in the attorney general to testify about budget issues.
In a number of testy exchanges with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said he would not answer many of their questions because of a long-standing Justice Department policy that he said protects private conversations between Cabinet secretaries and the president.
"King says Sessions's disinterest in the Russian Federation investigation extends to the White House". 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.
Sessions says the president was not asserting executive privilege and that Sessions was simply protecting Trump's right to do so if he chooses.
Mr Trump has recently expressed frustration with Mr Sessions, who has come under pressure over his own Russian Federation contacts.
He also refused to answer several Democrats' questions concerning his conversations with President Donald Trump, leading them to accuse him of stonewalling.
"I am not stonewalling", Mr. Sessions fired back at one point.
"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", Sessions said.
Coons on Wednesday said he believes both Sessions and fired FBI Director James Comey should appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, to which he belongs, as it has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice. But I'll say this: "I think your silence, like the silence of Director Coats, like the silence of Admiral Rogers [in reference to June 7's hearings] speaks volumes".
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