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Attorney General Denies Improper Meetings with Russians

15 June 2017

Kamala Harris was again reprimanded for questioning and interrupting a witness while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.

Sessions (pictured below) wrote a letter to Trump recommending the abrupt dismissal of then-FBI Director James Comey, who was heading the investigation into ties between Trump's associates and the Kremlin in the 2016 campaign and transition.

Sen. Tom Cotton said Wednesday Russian meddling would be consistent with Moscow's activities in other countries through the years and the investigation into that should continue, but there is no evidence the country colluded with President Donald Trump's campaign team.

Sessions, the United States' top law enforcement officer, made the remarks during an appearance before the Senate Committee on Intelligence - just five days after former FBI Director James Comey showed up there to add weight to his side of the story.

He opened his testimony with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about "any type of interference" in the 2016 presidential election. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign". "I knew that Director Comey, long-time experienced in the Department of Justice, could handle himself well", Sessions told Sen. Mr. Sessions had been a Republican senator from Alabama for twenty years before President Trump appointed him as the U.S. Attorney General early this year. Namely, they were upset with his very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, which Sessions said was a "usurpation" of Justice Department authority.

Democratic senators fumed about this "stonewalling", but on Tuesday at least, it served to protect Sessions from answering some legally and politically delicate questions.

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If the president were to invoke privilege, it's possible that legal challenges would not go his way. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said the president's "concerning" actions were now "beyond troubling".

In particular, Sessions tamped down Comey's recounting of the February 14 meeting Comey had with Trump - where Trump reportedly asked him stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. "I don't know how that occurred", Sessions replied. "You raised your right hand here today, and you said that you would solemnly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

He acknowledged being at the event and said he had conversations with people there but did not remember any conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Democrats were unhappy with Sessions declining to testify about his discussions with Trump, citing the longstanding policy.

And while he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Sessions insisted, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations".

But Comey wanted Sessions to serve as an intermediary with the president, telling him it was wrong to be buddy-buddy with someone directing an investigation of the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"We are talking about an attack on our democratic institutions and stonewalling of any kind is unacceptable ... there is no legal basis for this stonewalling", Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said.

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That's the fact. Everything else - including Sessions' attempts to spin his views on Comey and the circumstances surrounding his firing - are simply post-action spin. "America can not accept the fact that it elected the [.] unconventional, often uncontained and unpredictable Donald Trump all by itself".

Sessions revealed that he and Rosenstein discussed before they were even confirmed getting rid of Comey. This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me. And Sessions did little to dispel this evidence.

"We asked them relevant questions and they basically said "We don't feel like answering" and that's not going to be acceptable (with Sessions)", said Wyden. He could not say with absolute certainty who he did and did not meet with, what was discussed, or who other members of the Trump campaign might have met with. Unless authorized, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he had a personal or political relationship with any person involved in the conduct of an investigation that goes on to say for political campaign and it says if you have a close identification with an elected official or candidate arising from service as a principal adviser, you should not participate in an investigation of that campaign. For, the president seemed to mean he fired Comey because he would not stop the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

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

Schake: Yes, he had a choice, although refusing would have made it hard for him to achieve much of what an attorney general needs from the Congress - and, ironically, the manner of his testimony I think left him in the same place, having alienated Congress.

Senate panel to question Sessions on Russia, Comey
In March he acknowledged he met twice past year with Russia's ambassador to Washington , Sergei Kislyak. "He was preparing for the stop here today", said Sanders. "You're impeding this investigation".

Attorney General Denies Improper Meetings with Russians