Democrat to grill US Attorney General Sessions on Comey firing
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 10:58
"We've obviously pressed the White House", he said. But it seems a member of Trump's administration will be stealing his thunder.
A number of members are concerned Sessions may be attempting to avoid testifying in public by scrapping his previously scheduled Senate and House Appropriations appearances this week, where he was expected to be grilled on issues related to the federal investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the United States election, several sources say. Sen.
The letter did not say whether Sessions planned to give public testimony on Tuesday or to appear before the panel behind closed doors.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face questions about the firing of FBI Director James Comey and undeclared meetings with Russian officials at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet to testify in the affair.
Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he would appear before the committee to address matters that Comey brought up last week in testimony to the same panel. Sessions, whose contacts with Russia's ambassador to the US during the presidential campaign has sparked questions, agreed Saturday, June 10, to appear before the Senate intelligence committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the election.
It is not yet known whether Session will testify to the committee in public or private.
A Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity initially said the department expected Sessions to testify in closed session but later stressed that the decision was up to the panel's Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr. Democrats are pushing for a public hearing. But, added Lankford "releasing his memos is not damaging to national security". The ACLU also came out quickly to speak up in favor of an open hearing.
Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein will stand in for Mr Sessions at the planned appropriations sub-committee hearings.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Democratic Senator Jack Reed questioned on Sunday why Sessions was involved in Trump's May 9 dismissal of Comey after he had recused himself from investigations of whether Russian Federation meddled in the election, possibly with help from Trump associates. Comey said he couldn't discuss it publicly.
The following day, Mr Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe.
A committee member, Democratic Sen.
GOP strategist Ryan Williams, a former spokesman for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, said Sessions could use this fact pattern to distance himself.
The test comes as some special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be ramping up his probe - hiring away a handful of seasoned federal criminal investigators that could hint at deeper, more serious legal trouble for Trump and his team. "Now, twice in 2 mos., AG Sessions cancels an Approps hg in which I could Q him about his false testimony and half-hearted Russian Federation recusal". "You can't run forever".
Leahy isn't the only one upset about Sessions' choice of where to testify. While the Senate Intelligence Committee has received most of the publicity of late on the Russian Federation probe, the House Intelligence Committee has also been making noise, sending out subpoenas to some, and letters asking for cooperation to others.