Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

Why Jeff Sessions says he can't talk

Sessions said those policies that prevented him answering questions, despite various senators saying there was no legality that should limit him from answering. Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice Russia investigation in March, but then signed a letter endorsing Comey's firing in May.

Lawmakers for weeks have demanded answers from Sessions, particularly about meetings he had last summer and fall with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

He went on to stress, however, that his recusal "does not and can not interfere with my ability to oversee the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation". The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday gave Sessions a chance to defend himself, but offered little new insight.

During his January confirmation hearing, he failed to disclose meetings he held with Russian officials. "And I know how it's been discussed, but those are the rules that have always been adhered to", he said.

Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two encounters previous year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The attorney general has recused himself from the Russia investigation - a decision he sought to cast on Tuesday as resulting from his role on the Trump campaign, rather than because of any inappropriate interaction with Russian officials.

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He also has vented frustration to aides on Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, a decision that led to Rosenstein's appointment of a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director.

"Like the silence of Rep. Coats and Admiral Rogers, I think your silence speaks volumes", Heinrich said.

He even admitted at one point that he was nervous about some rapid-fire questioning.

Sessions spent more than 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included several testy exchanges with Democratic senators who accused him of obstructing their investigation. "Wyden. There are none!" he said.

Sessions' clash with the Democratic senators was the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged Trump in his first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives.

Later, when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked if Rosenstein knew of any reason to fire Mueller, the deputy attorney general was curt: "No, sir". Instead, Sessions cited a "long-standing" Department of Justice policy as his reason for not sharing "private communications" with the president, while seemingly leaving the door open for Trump to invoke the privilege in the future.

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"I take the president at his word - that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey said.

"The question is: Mr. Comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them", Wyden said. "Certainly I can assure you, nothing improper, if I had had a conversation with him". There are none, Sen. "Mr. Comey well knew them, I thought, and assumed correctly that he complied with them", Sessions said. "People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I've tried to be honest".

"I'm not claiming executive privilege because that's the president's power and I have no power there", Sessions admitted to the committee's vice chairman, Sen. The president has denied asking Comey to drop the Flynn matter.

Earlier, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

While the attorney general agreed to testify before the committee in public, he declined to comment on his private conversations with the president and other high officials at the White House, which he said would be a "violation of the communications rule".

But Jeff Sessions' testimony on Capitol Hill on Tuesday will be better remembered for a moment geared to 21st-century memes.

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While Leahy leveled serious concern with Sessions' involvement in the Russian Federation investigation, he also voiced disapproval of Trump's proposed 2018 Department of Justice budget, which slashes spending by more than $1 billion over 2017 levels.

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