Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

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.

The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and another member of the Judiciary Committee, said both Sessions and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch should appear.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate committees but it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

During his televised testimony on Thursday, Comey that Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, may have had additional contacts with Russians, and said in a closed hearing that investigators had received Russian intercepts detailing a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, CNN reported.

It later came out in closed session questioning that Sessions had yet another meeting with Russian ambassador to the USA and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak. He removed himself after it emerged that he had met at least twice with the Russian ambassador in 2016, though he had testified at his confirmation hearing that he had not had contact with Russians.

Comey branded the President a liar and said he believed he was sacked over his handling of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russian election meddling, allegations that Trump denied on Friday.

Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, and Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies. Mr Comey declined to elaborate in an open setting. He wrote that "it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum".

Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the committee to address matters that former Comey brought up last week in dramatic testimony to the same panel. So we were convinced - in fact, I think we'd already heard the career people were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to be in contact with Russia-related matters much longer.

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 effect of the bureau's investigation of Russian meddling in USA politics.

The letter did not say whether Sessions planned to give public testimony on Tuesday or to appear before the panel behind closed doors. However, Comey said he could not discuss those in a public session.

At the conclusion of a February 14 meeting in the White House, Comey testified, Trump urged everyone else but Comey to leave the Oval Office, including Sessions.

  • Rogelio Becker