In Senate hearing, Jeff Sessions denies 'false and scurrilous allegations'


"Let me state this clearly, colleagues".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the presidential campaign have sparked questions, agreed Saturday to appear before the Senate intelligence committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event. Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., according to people familiar with the briefing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday that he had any undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador or conversations with Russian officials about the USA elections.

But Sessions says Comey should have relayed his concerns to Dana Boente, who was then acting as deputy attorney general and Comey's direct supervisor.

Though Mr. Sessions said that the president had not invoked executive privilege that would prevent him from talking about such matters, the attorney general indicated that it appeared to be contemplated. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign", the attorney general said.

Update: Watch to the end as an irritated Sessions attacks the "secret innuendo" pushed last week by Comey in suggesting that there were non-public reasons known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as to why Sessions would need to recuse himself from the Russiagate probe eventually.

The attorney general, who recommended Comey be fired, declined to discuss his conversations with the president on the subject, citing a "longstanding policy" that Justice officials not comment on such private discussions. The fact that Sessions would delegate that task to his deputy showed the Russian Federation investigation was distracting him from his core duties.

Sessions got angry again when Wyden pressed Sessions to explain what facts might be "problematic "about his involvement in the Russian Federation probe, as Comey suggested".

In one tense exchange, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling".

After asking Sessions a long question, Wyden appeared unhappy with the answer he received.

But the revelations forced Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March. He has acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak. And he defiantly pushed back on notions that had he and the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, might have attended the same event meant that would be proof of collusion.

In a passionate opening statement at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said, "the suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process is an appalling and detestable lie". Shelby chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee.

"My understanding is that you took an oath, you raised your right hand today and said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth".

The AG revealed he and Trump discussed, before he was confirmed, terminating Comey.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.

When the Post story broke, Sessions' spokespeople said he did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers' questions. There, Yun learned about Warmbier's "condition", the White House official said. Comey testified that in the privacy of the Oval Office, the President asked him to let the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn drop.

A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told "PBS NewsHour" on Monday that the president was weighing whether to fire the special counsel now heading up the investigation, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

"I do not" Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

Sessions is the most senior member of Trump's administration caught up in the Russian Federation controversy.

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. If the White House is asserting the privilege, assert it. Make a decision. On June 5, he tweeted that the Justice Department "should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted" to the Supreme Court. Sessions "was interpreting what Trump was thinking at the time", one of the diplomats in attendance said.