Sessions' plans to testify surprised Senate intelligence panel members

Caroline Beck
June 14, 2017

Senator Richard Burr tweeted that the hearing will begin at 2:30 pm in open session.

Sessions is likely to face questions by the Senate Intelligence Committee over his dealings with Russian officials during the campaign and whether he had a role in firing former FBI Director James Comey, who testified last week before the same panel.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, also a member of the intelligence panel, sent a letter to panel Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Warner asking for the hearing to be open. While the Senate Intelligence Committee has received most of the publicity of late on the Russian Federation probe, the House Intelligence Committee has also been making noise, sending out subpoenas to some, and letters asking for cooperation to others. Only a few people at Justice in the White House should be in touch with each other.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said Sunday "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.

Yesterday, Schumer also said he would like to clear up the matter of whether Trump does indeed have tapes of his conversations with Comey, as the president has suggested. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer is declining to say whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions should invoke executive privilege in testimony to Congress Tuesday. "You can't run forever", Leahy tweeted.

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"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said. Media reports last week said Sessions offered to resign because of tensions with the president over his decision to recuse himself from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Russian Federation probe.

Senators on that committee are expected to question Sessions about his meetings with Russians - a topic that has come under increased scrutiny amid investigations into Russian meddling in the USA presidential election. During his nomination hearing in January, the former senator told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no contacts with Russian officials as part of the Trump campaign.

"I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible".

Comey's dramatic testimony drew invective from his former boss on Twitter, with Trump dismissing him as a leaker on Friday and a coward on Sunday.

That remark came after revelations that Sessions had met with Russia's ambassador to the USA last year, despite testifying under oath during a confirmation hearing that he "did not have communications with the Russians".

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, responding to Trump's statement last week that he would "100 percent" speak under oath about the Comey affair, said he would like the president to testify in public before the Senate.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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