Sessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee

US attorney general next in scandal's spotlight

FILE - In this March 6, 2017, file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon in an open session, the committee announced Monday.

USA Today reports that Sessions' testimony is expected to be behind closed doors and to target the February 14 meeting in the oval office in which, according to former FBI Director James Comey, Sessions was asked to step out of the room to leave Comey and the president alone.

And in a stunning moment of inside-the-Beltway intrigue, Comey dropped a bombshell about why he and other top Federal Bureau of Investigation officials concluded that the attorney general was going to recuse himself from the probe.

Comey said Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Despite his recusal, Sessions in May signed a letter to Trump recommending he remove Comey, the man overseeing the investigation into Russian election meddling and the possible Russia-Trump nexus.

"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 added.

Sessions had been due to appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow about the Justice Department's budget for 2018, but said the switch of hearing was necessary as it had become clear he would be questioned about Russian Federation.




The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers 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 election.

The attorney general, the highest-ranking law-enforcement officer in the nation, said he would testify before the Senate committee Tuesday, presumably under oath.

The attorney general cited his involvement in Trump's campaign for stepping away from the Russian Federation investigation in March.

"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's recent testimony", the attorney general wrote in a letter Sen.

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of NY said on CBS' Face the Nation he would take Trump up on his offer to testify under oath about his conversations with Comey, inviting the president to testify before the Senate.

Despite Sessions' admitted talks with Kislyak, he has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, including at a foreign policy conference more than a year ago at a hotel in Washington. "My impression was, something big is about to happen", Comey said, as he recalled the encounter.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Intelligence committee, sent a letter to Sen. "We on the Intelligence Committee want to know the answers to those questions, and we have begun to request information from the attorney general to allow us to get to the bottom of that". "Doing policy by tweets is really a shakeup for us, because there's no justification presented".

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