Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

Jeff Sessions Jeff Sessions To Appear Before Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday
Lillian Steele | 15 June, 2017, 02:41

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to address matters former FBI Director James Comey brought up this week in testimony to the same panel.

Former FBI director James Comey raised additional questions at a hearing on Thursday, saying that the FBI expected Mr Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he actually did. Concerns have been raised about whether Sessions helped otherwise subvert the ongoing Russia-related investigations.

Comey's testimony raised lingering questions surrounding Sessions' recusal from the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

Sessions announced his intention to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Saturday in letters to the chairman of House and Senate appropriations subcommittees, where he had been scheduled to testify Tuesday.

He said in the letter he will send a deputy to that hearing and instead appear before the intelligence committee.

A Justice Department spokeswoman has said that no such meeting occurred.

Trump at first maintained Comey had been fired as a result of discontent among the FBI agents he supervised, but a day later admitted that he fired the FBI chief as a outcome of the bureau's investigation of Russian meddling in USA politics.

Sessions' testimony is expected to occur Tuesday in a closed meeting and to focus on the moments leading up to the private February 14 conversation where, according to Comey, President Trump pressed the then-FBI director to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sessions recused himself from overseeing the federal Russia probe three months ago after The Washington Post reported on a pair of undisclosed meetings Sessions had during the campaign with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US. The fact that Sessions would delegate that task showed the Russian Federation investigation was distracting him from his core duties.

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

Trump's alleged comments to Comey about Flynn "is a big deal, and can't be excused by simply being a novice", Preet Bharara said on ABC's This Week, the first televised interview since his own firing by Trump in March as a federal prosecutor in NY. "My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving", Comey added. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

"These are dark times if the attorney general of the United States is unwilling to answer questions under oath in an open session about his conduct or defend this administration's budget", Schatz said in a statement.

Sessions failed to include information about his meetings with Kislyak during his confirmation process.

Though contact between the White House and the FBI has always been routed through the attorney general or deputy attorney general, Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into Russia's interference with last year's election after failing to disclose meetings with Kislyak during his January confirmation hearing.

"There remain a number of questions about his own interactions with the Russians", Republican Senator Susan Collins told CNN Friday.

"The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter", said department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, referring to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the department's Russian Federation probe.

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