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Senate panel meets with special counsel in Russian Federation probe

15 June 2017

Senators are also expected to ask Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller last month, testified Tuesday he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire Mueller. He would not say that he was ordered out of the room as Comey testified last week.

When Warner asked him about whether he had confidence in the ability of special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct his investigation "fairly and impartially", Sessions said he knew nothing about the investigation and had cut himself off from it due to his recusal.

In testimony Tuesday, Sessions did not deny the meeting outright, but said he could not recall a meeting with Kislyak.

In a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sessions forcefully denied that he had any involvement with or knowledge of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 election. During his testimony, the Attorney General was asked if he had been given some of the details about the "active measures" used by Russian Federation to interfere in the US elections - his answer was, no, as Sessions said he had stayed away from anything to do with the matter, to honor his recusal as Attorney General.

Wyden asked Sessions what problematic issues existed. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was planning to interrogate Sessions over his contacts with Russian officials, as well as the attorney general's current role in the FBI investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

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Former FBI Director James Comey, in a little-noticed moment during his Senate Intelligence Committee testimony last week, said Trump never once asked him about Russia's interference in the USA election as it related to national security during their nine conversations before he fired Comey in early May.

"It's my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer", Sessions said.

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians.

Jeff Sessions displayed several moments of passion during his Tuesday testimony, but none of them had anything to do with the fact that a subversive foreign power hacked our election.

The Justice Department subsequently released decades-old memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that it said supported Sessions' position.

SESSIONS: I would say that I have consulted with senior career attorneys in the department. "I attended a fair number of meetings on that with President Obama".

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He disputed that his involvement in Comey's firing violated the recusal. If the president hasn't asserted privilege, King argued, correctly, Sessions can not claim its blanket protection.

The Post, citing unnamed sources, said the investigation into the president's own conduct began shortly after Trump fired Comey on May 9. Comey's decision to announce previous year that Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails was a "usurpation" of the Justice Department's authority, Sessions said. The day before my meeting with the Russian ambassador, I met with the Ukrainian ambassador, and I heard his concerns about Russia, and so I raised those with Mr. Kislyak, and he gave, as you can imagine, not one inch. I'm not sure. I don't recall.

On another hot-button issue, Sen.

Sessions said he was unable to share what Trump said-but also said that he was not invoking executive privilege.

The White House referred questions to Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz.

"I do not" Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

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