Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses the National Law Enforcement Conference on Human Exploitation in Atlanta Georgia U.S
US-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses the National Law Enforcement Conference on Human Exploitation in Atlanta Thomson Reuters
Author

13 June, 2017

In letters to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies - with whom Sessions was originally scheduled to appear Tuesday - he wrote of the necessity to change his schedule following former FBI Director James Comey's hearing last week and an invitation to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Justice Department has said that while Mr Sessions was there, for a speech by Mr Trump, there were no meetings or private encounters.

On March 1, The Washington Post reported that he met twice with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the campaign.

In a letter Saturday to Sen.

Sessions' role in the ongoing probe into Trump campaign's alleged communications with Russian Federation has come under increased scrutiny since the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey this week.

Richard Shelby, Senate Appropriations Committee chair, Sessions cited public statements of some members that they would use their time with Sessions to ask him questions about the Russian Federation issue instead of the purported subject of discussion, the Department of Justice's FY 2018 budget.

"Some members have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference into Russian interference in the 2016 election, " his letter said.

Sessions recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump after acknowledging that he had met twice previous year with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

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Collins, appearing on CNN's State of the Union, said her "theory" is that Trump thought his conversations with Comey were how a president should interact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director. 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. A Justice Department official said that committee hearing probably will be closed to the public.

Briefing congressional appropriators on the Justice Department's budget is a critical part of the attorney general's job.

Sessions, among the earliest high-profile backers of Trump's election campaign, failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials during his January confirmation hearing.

During Comey's appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. COMEY: That's a question I can't answer.

"I assume that this [hearing] will be public", Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said on CBS' Face the Nation program. Feinstein is the top Democrat on that panel and a member of both.

"There's an unpredictability. He projects an instability", Feinstein said.

When the two men were alone, the ex-FBI director said, Trump urged Comey to stop the investigation into fired national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Information for this article was contributed by Hope Yen of The Associated Press and by Ros Krasny, Mark Niquette, Chris Strohm, Todd Shields and Ben Brody of Bloomberg News.


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