Published: Tue, June 13, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the presidential campaign have sparked questions, agreed Saturday to appear before the Senate intelligence committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings.

The move is a prominent switch from his previous plans to testify publicly on the Justice Department's budget and puts him more directly in the firing line over questions about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States and a federal investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

In a letter Saturday to Sen.

Originally, Sessions was to testify Tuesday before the House and Senate subcommittees that oversee his department's budget but, as the AG wrote in his letter to the chairman of the subcommittee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be stepping in for him.

Members of the intelligence committee are in the middle of an investigation and have "access to relevant, classified information", Sessions said. But he wrote to Congress Saturday that he wanted to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee instead to address questions that arose during Comey's testimony last week.

Back in March, Sessions stepped aside from overseeing a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign after he acknowledged meeting twice past year with the Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak.

Collins, appearing on CNN's State of the Union, said her "theory" is that Trump thought his conversations with Comey were how a president should interact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

The following day, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Comey said Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. A Justice Department official said that committee hearing probably will be closed to the public. Mr Comey declined to elaborate in an open setting. WYDEN: How would you characterize Attorney General Sessions's adherence to his recusal?

She said Sessions should also testify before the Judiciary Committee, because it was better suited to explore legal questions of possible obstruction.

During the closed portion of Comey's appearance Thursday, CNN reports, he testified that Russian intercepts indicated that Sessions had an "unreported third meeting" with Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign. COMEY: That's a question I can't answer.

Feinstein acknowledged she "would have a queasy feeling, too" if Comey's testimony was true that Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe the FBI probe into Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation.

Like this: