Attorney General Sessions' Testimony To Senate Panel Will Be Public

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Chet Strange The New York Times Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday he wants his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee to be public. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Comey a series of questions about Sessions' involvement in the Russian Federation investigation during the two weeks between Trump expressing his "hope" that Comey could let go of the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Sessions' recusal from inquiries related to the election. Some Democrats say that recusal should have also applied to the Comey firing - since President Trump has made clear he fired Comey in part because of the Russian Federation probe. Comey wrote that Sessions did not reply to his request.

But behind the scenes, there was significant pushback from Democrats - including Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner - who raised objections with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr that Sessions may be trying to skirt public scrutiny. "The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information".

"I would be fine with issuing a subpoena", Collins said.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. But senators on the committee are expected to question Sessions about his meetings with Russians - a topic that's come under increased scrutiny amid investigations into Russia's interference in the USA election. While both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized some of the former FBI Director's decisions, they know that his word is good.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice past year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The former senator from Alabama told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

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Kelly then went on to confront Jones, who seemed to move the conversation to other topics that he said the media failed to cover. Chelsea Clinton has all but called for a boycott of the episode. "I hope no parent, no person watches this".

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on.

"(Sessions) believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow", a Justice Department spokesperson said.

Sessions has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

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. Comey declined to elaborate in an open setting. Reed was on "Fox News Sunday".

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