The Sessions hearing shows who's really colluding with Russia

US President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington DC

US President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington DC

Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March after it was revealed he twice met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign but failed to say so at his confirmation hearing. And in that context, my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it. What happened when Sessions left the room, and Trump allegedly pressed Comey to end an investigation?

When Wyden accused him of not answering the questions about Comey's reported remark that his behavior after recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe was "problematic", Sessions chuckled and then launched into his most theatrical defense of his actions. "As such, I have no knowledge about this investigation beyond what has been publicly reported, and I have taken no action with regard to any such investigation as it is ongoing today beyond what has been publicly reported and I don't even read that and I have taken no action with regard to any such investigation". "But this is the reason I recused myself". 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".

Throughout the questioning, Sessions defended himself and refused to discuss any details of conversations he has had with President Trump.

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.

Sessions also offered a plausible defense to the argument that he violated the terms of his recusal by participating in the firing of Comey.

The committee's Republican chairman, Richard Burr, asked Sessions to ask the White House if there were areas officials there would be comfortable with him answering and provide written answers if so. But I have to tell you, Senator King, I know nothing but what I've read in the paper. There are none, Sen.

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Wenstrup praised Capitol police for taking out the gunman and the emergency responders who showed up at the scene quickly. James Hodgkinson , 66, of Belleville, Illinois, was the alleged shooter , and was pronounced dead Wednesday morning.

Sessions resisted an attempt by Sen. "This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it".

Rosenstein said that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate".

At a separate hearing Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, overseeing that effort since Sessions stepped aside, said he's seen no basis for firing Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director he appointed as special counsel.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday he had confidence in Mueller, and dismissed reports that Trump might fire Mueller as "rumors".

He said he was avoiding saying anything in case the president might later choose to exercise his executive privilege to withhold certain evidence.

"I'm not able to discuss with you, or confirm or deny, the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the President on this subject or others", Sessions told Sen.

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The speech comes as the White House tries to push past a series of distractions and focus on Trumps legislative agenda. Barges the president said were carrying West Virginia-produced coal were visible on the river behind him.

Sessions was unclear as to whether he could answer more questions in a classified, private briefing, saying "I'm not sure that executive privilege is not waived by going into a closed session". Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after the revelations of the two Kislyak meetings.

Sessions said Trump had not invoked executive privilege regarding the conversations.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, 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.

But Mr. Sessions did succeed in tamping down suspicions over his meetings with Mr. Kislyak, Mr. Cramer said, and in particular their possible encounter at the Mayflower.

Democratic senators have seized on the possibility of a third meeting to suggest that Sessions has not been forthcoming about the extent of his communications with the ambassador.

In a statement issued following the hearing, Sen.

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In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again. Sessions told the committee he is protecting Trump's right to later on assert executive privilege "if he chooses".

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". "Rubio, probably so", Sessions added, when Rubio asked whether any such tapes would have to be preserved.

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