During his testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions called allegations that he colluded with the Russians a "detestable lie" and assured the committee he would not be bullied into stopping his work as AG.
"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make (Sessions') continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic, " Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Comey's testimony will form a dramatic sequel to Comey's own appearance before the committee last week, and he will have to tackle several open loops that emerged during that appearance, which twisted the knife in an administration that has struggled to extricate itself from the Russian Federation cloud. Comey, for his part, fired back in the closed-door portion of his Senate testimony, reportedly confirming that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating a third meeting with Kislyak that Sessions neglected to disclose to officials. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.
He is amicable with the Russian government and met officials prior to the 2016 election.
Mr Sessions argued that in the context of the hearing, "my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it". Those topics include Sessions' role in Comey's firing, as well as the circumstances of his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that a history of political giving is not a disqualifier for those who work for the Department of Justice's special counsel investigating Russian interference in US elections.
In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.
Sessions is likely to be asked whether he played a role in Trump's decision to fire Comey. "I hope you can let this go". There are none, Sen.
Wyden said Monday that Sessions hasn't engaged in anything close to a real recusal. These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me.
Even before Sessions testified, attention in Washington swiveled to whether Trump might seek to fire Robert Mueller, named last month by the Justice Department to head a federal probe into the Russian Federation issue. "If there were not good cause it wouldn't matter what anyone said". But when Comey, who was in charge of the investigation, was fired, there was Sessions once again, front and center with a letter to the president saying "a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI". He declined to say whether he discussed with Trump the reasons for firing Comey, asserting he couldn't confirm or deny conversations with the president.
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The testimony by Comey marked the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged the Republican Trump's first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".
Sessions refused to say whether he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he could not disclose private communications with the president.
On another hot-button issue, Sen.
Sessions is reportedly not expected to reveal details of his conversations with President Trump beyond what is publicly known.
"I believe it was the next day that [Comey] said something, expressed concern, about being left alone with the president", Sessions said. "I don't know, Sen. Rubio, probably so", Sessions added, when Rubio asked whether any such tapes would have to be preserved.
Those calls have escalated since fired FBI Director James Comey cryptically told lawmakers on Thursday that 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 presidential election.
Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules.
But Sessions disputed that was why he lingered, suggesting there was really nothing to it.
He was asked about the event several times, and said at one point, "If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it".