Franken fires back at Sessions after testimony

Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill

Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill

Sessions, a top Trump campaign surrogate, recused himself from the FBI's Russian Federation investigation in March, a day after The Washington Post reported that he had had at least two undisclosed meetings with Kislyak during the election - once during the Republican National Convention and again in his office in September. He recalled multiple conversations with President Donald Trump about his performance.

Astonishingly, Sessions asserted that nothing is "problematic" about Trump pulling the FBI director into a private meeting amid an investigation involving his campaign. This rationale was conspicuously repudiated by the president in disclosing that Comey's handling of the Russia investigation was the actual reason for the firing, adding that Comey was a "showboat", plus Trump's subsequent statement to two high-ranking Russian diplomats that the FBI director was a "nutjob" pursuing an annoying Russian investigation.

"The suggestion that I participated with any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honour for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie".

John McCain, R-Ariz., asked Sessions to give details about his September meeting with the Russian ambassador in his Senate office. If he did have a conversation with the ambassador, it was "certainly nothing improper". Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about his two meetings with Kislyak. "Franken's question honestly - colleagues. that is false", he said.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: "I don't have any information that he had done so".

Angus King (I-ME) demanded to know the "legal basis" for Sessions' repeated dodges.

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Sessions hedged nearly all of his answers about whether/when he met with Russians, or why he was involved in firing Comey, or how he feels about the president's decisions, with: "I don't recall" or "I believe so" or "maybe".

The attorney general has recused himself from the Russia investigation - a decision he sought to cast on Tuesday as resulting from his role on the Trump campaign, rather than because of any inappropriate interaction with Russian officials.

SESSIONS: Let me qualify. Kamala Harris (D-CA). It's just, like, through the looking-glass.

At one point, Sen.

Toobin believes the White House comes out the victor in that Sessions will now draw the brunt of the criticism for not answering the questions, rather than Trump.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions replied. Sessions told the committee he is protecting Trump's right to later on assert executive privilege "if he chooses". The FBI is part of the Justice Department that Sessions heads.

What's next for Trump nemesis James Comey?
And, despite Trump's low approval ratings nationally, his core base of supporters remains firmly behind him. And right now, it doesn't matter that it's me, it doesn't matter what I've done.

Wyden noted Comey had said it was "problematic" for Sessions to oversee the Russian Federation probe, for reasons he did not explain in a public setting.

In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again. There are none, Sen.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions said. "People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I've tried to be honest". The president has denied asking Comey to drop the Flynn matter.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on.

Jeff Sessions behaved like a lawyer with a very hard client and case.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus: "Uh, I don't recall". And we are supposed to disregard the abundant evidence the president has himself offered that the wildly retroactive argument Rod Rosenstein (with Jeff Sessions's endorsement) made for firing Comey was a mere pretext for his actual motives.

Collins: Comey may have 'misinterpreted' Trump over firing
Sessions had told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing in January that he hadn't met with Russians during the campaign. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not "reliable" in the conventional political sense".

Steve Bannon: "I have no information that he did".

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