Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Jeff Sessions to appear before Senate Intelligence committee

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein at a budget hearing Tuesday what he would do if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the US elections and possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign.

Senators are also expected to ask Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey. He said he did not have any meetings at the event and did not recall any "brief interaction" he may have had with the Russian ambassador in passing at reception at the Mayflower.

But reports of a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak have occupied congressional investigators since then.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested that the committee hearing be public.

The decision came in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from American Oversight, a nonprofit that says it relies on FOIA to investigate the Trump administration. Sessions, a former senator, later issued a clarification saying he had met with the ambassador. That made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail, according to former acting attorney general Sally Yates. The Justice Department has denied such a meeting occurred. And he can expect questions about his involvement in Comey's May 9 firing, the circumstances surrounding his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation, and whether any of his actions - such as interviewing candidates for the FBI director position or meeting with Trump about Comey - violated his recusal pledge.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he consults with a career ethics official when questions arise about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.

"I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct", Comey testified.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said Ruddy had not spoken to Trump about the issue and that only the president or his attorneys were authorized to speak about it.

The former Republican U.S. senator, an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, will likely have to explain why he told lawmakers in January that he had no dealings with Russian officials past year.

Once they had left, Comey said, Trump said he hoped that Comey could see his way to "letting go" of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's ties with the Russian government.

Last week, Comey raised additional questions about Sessions' involvement, saying the FBI knew of reasons why it would be problematic for the attorney general to stay involved in the Russian Federation investigation well before Sessions recused himself in March.

Lankford said Sessions' testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey's allegations, including Sessions' presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone. Discussions between the members continued through Sunday and into Monday morning, two sources said. But many Democrats have accused Sessions of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee during his January confirmation hearing.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation. He added that Mueller will have the "full independence he needs to conduct that investigation" and that there was "no secret plan" to fire him. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, thundered at two top spy bosses last week when they couldn't give the legal reasons for why they couldn't explain what he wanted.

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