Sessions: DOJ regulations mandated my recusal from Trump-Russia probe

Sessions: DOJ regulations mandated my recusal from Trump-Russia probe

"It's unacceptable that Sessions - the top law enforcement official in the country - can not name his legal basis for evading questions", Harris, a former Attorney General of California, said on Twitter.

Sessions was asked about all of this under oath Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the lead congressional committee on Russian Federation.

Tuesday marked Sessions' first public testimony since he recommended Comey's firing last month.

In his testimony last week, Mr Comey accused the White House of lying about him and the FBI and repeatedly said he believed he was sacked because of the agency's investigation into Trump-Russia ties.

Al Franken. In January, during his confirmation hearing, Sessions told the Minnesota Democrat that he "did not have communications with the Russians". John McCain to interrupt Harris, as he had last week, and say the witness should be allowed to answer.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after revelations that he had failed to disclose two meetings a year ago with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, which is conducting a parallel Russian Federation probe, said on Twitter that Congress "must compel responses using whatever process necessary". Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

He's been hounded by speculation over the possibility of a third meeting, with Democratic senators calling for an investigation.

Asked by Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, whether a list of Trump campaign advisors were in direct contact with Russian officials, Session said "I have no information" or "I don't recall" to each name-except for Carter Page, a campaign advisor who in May of this year admitted to the Senate committee that he had meetings with a Russian "junior attaché that the United States intelligence community believes to be a Kremlin spy". That was not so, he said.

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

Sessions said he trusted Comey to do his job well, and that's why he didn't get involved when Comey expressed concern about the president interfering in the FBI investigation. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty". "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. "She was interrupted for asking tough questions", Harris' fellow committee member, Senator Ron Wyden tweeted.

Sessions sternly defends record, denies any wrongdoing. A friend of the president suggested a day earlier that Trump was considering such an ouster.

He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.

Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules.

Instead, Comey was ousted for mishandling the Hillary Clinton email scandal, Cornyn argued.

In his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions - the U.S.'s chief law enforcement officer - told Sen.

He insisted he never knew anything about the Russian Federation probe or had any role in it.

Sessions added: "These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me".

Throughout the questioning, Sessions defended himself and refused to discuss any details of conversations he has had with President Trump.

Executive privilege is a power that can be claimed by a president or senior executive branch officials to withhold information from Congress or the courts to protect the executive branch decision-making process. He asserted that "I am protecting the right of the president to assert if it he chooses and there may be other privileges that may apply".

"As such", he said, "I have no knowledge about this investigation, as it is ongoing today, beyond what has been publicly reported". "I know nothing but what I've read in the paper".

On another hot-button issue, Sen.

Sessions was a Trump campaign surrogate during last year's race.

Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said Mr. Sessions's use of this particular power in Mr. Trump's name was questionable. "Certainly, I can assure you, nothing improper, if I'd had a conversation with him", he said.

Would any such tapes have to be preserved?