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Sessions testifies he was never briefed on Russian interference in election

Kamala Harris (D-CA) regarding what Department of Justice policy he was referring to, Sessions could not cite any specific details. If he did have a conversation with the ambassador, it was "certainly nothing improper".

In his testimony last week, Comey said he and Trump had a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14 about the investigation into the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. But he said essentially that he was flustered by a question from Sen.

"I wanted to refute that immediately", Sessions said.

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported encounter with Kislyak in April 2016 at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech.

The attorney general, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, has recused himself from the DOJ Russia investigation.

Sessions has recused himself from that investigation, even though he took a personal hand in Comey's firing, which Trump said was directly related to the Russian Federation investigation.

But invoking executive privilege may not be an option for Trump, who has publicly and repeatedly commented on social media and in media interviews on matters ranging from his firing of former FBI Director James Comey to the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

Sessions told the senators he has confidence in Mueller but said he had "no idea" if Trump did because he had not spoken to the president about the matter.

In a snappy exchange with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pressed Sessions on why the attorney general actually recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

"I am not stonewalling", he said. "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged or off limits", said Wyden. His staff said Sessions did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a U.S. senator, not as a Trump campaign representative.

Sessions shot back: "I am not stonewalling". "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice". Comey testified publicly last week the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of reasons it would be problematic for Sessions to remain involved in the probe before he recused himself.

He said the intelligence agency needed a "fresh start" as it had "problems", adding that Mr Comey had caused "controversy on both sides of the aisle".

"Why don't you tell me?" Wyden. There are none.

'In retrospect in looking at it I think it was more egregious than I may have even understood at the time, ' Sessions said Tuesday. "People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I've tried to be honest".




"I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power and I have no power there", Sessions admitted to the committee's vice chairman, Sen.

The president sacked Comey in early May.

Sessions shouted back. When Sessions claimed that his recommendation didn't violate his recusal even when Trump himself admitted that he was firing Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation, Wyden sniffed, "That answer doesn't pass the smell test!"

On Tuesday, Sessions defended his role.

"Senator Feinstein, that would call for a communication between the director and the president and I'm not able to comment on that".

Sessions said it would be "inappropriate" for him to reveal private conversations with Trump when the president "has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer".

"I agreed with those".

One of the main lines of inquiry involved Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's now-famous memo advising the president to fire Comey, which Sessions wholeheartedly endorsed. "He did not reply", Comey said last week.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., during Tuesday's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Justice Department budget.

"Why don't you tell me?"

"If there were good cause, I would consider it", Rosenstein testified.

Sessions was asked about all of this under oath Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the lead congressional committee on Russian Federation.

Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event.

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