7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 1:28
While no new bombshell details emerged from the Sessions testimony Tuesday, there were a number of threads and themes that will be sure to crop up again as hearings continue in Russian election meddling.
(Sessions) "There are none".
When Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA, asked if the Department's policies were contained in a written document, Sessions said, "I believe so". Ron Wyden (D-OR), Comey was asked why he didn't immediately disclose Trump's request to drop the investigation against the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn investigation to Sessions, who, at the time, had not yet recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.
Much was made of Sessions' meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a reception at the Mayflower Hotel.
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts past year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.
Sessions' appearance before the intelligence committee is an indication of just how much the Russian Federation investigation has shaded his tenure.
Senator Angus King, an independent, questioned Sessions' legal basis for refusing to answer questions after Sessions said Trump had not invoked executive privilege regarding the conversations. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign".
It's a tactic Price sees as a sign of misplaced priorities: "You can add Sessions to the growing list of officials in this administration who are protecting and defending the president, not the U.S. Constitution", he said. I can tell you that for absolute certainty.
- Sessions corroborated that Comey came to him the next day and asked not to be alone with the president.
Sessions said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein prepared a memo on Comey's performance that "noted some serious problems" with his performance.
The Sessions session before the Senate Intelligence Committee comes just six days after Comey's appearance.
After admitting Mr Trump had not invoked privilege, Mr Sessions was accused of "stonewalling" by Democratic senator Ron Wyden.
After the Post story was published, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, but he was involved in the decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Comey; Comey said last week that "lordy" he hopes there are.
But: Sessions also said he thought Comey should be fired. "I felt I was required to under the rules of the Department of Justice".
A former Republican senator, Sessions was an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, but sources say there has been tension between the two men in recent weeks because Trump was annoyed that Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe.
Sessions also refused to answer whether any Justice Department officials had discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the Russian investigations. But under questioning, Sessions acknowledged that Trump's campaign foreign policy advisers "never functioned as a coherent team" and there were members of that group he never met.
"I don't recall a conversation like that", Comey said.
Citing one example, Mr Sessions said it was "stunning" that the ex-FBI chief "usurped" the Department of Justice's authority by announcing that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over her emails.
Less than one week has passed since former FBI Director James Comey gave public testimony before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.
"Senator, I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders", Rosenstein answered.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday he had confidence in Mueller, and dismissed reports that Trump might fire Mueller as "rumors".