Sessions denies improper collusion with Russians


Sessions's recusal came the day after The Washington Post reported the first two meetings, but Sessions said he was already talking with lawyers about whether his Trump campaign work would force him to hand over the Russian Federation investigation to his deputy.

Sessions told the committee, which also heard testimony from fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey last week, that any suggestion that he had any knowledge of such actions was an "appalling and detestable lie".

When Heinrich asked Sessions whether Trump had expressed "frustration" to him about his decision to recuse himself, Sessions said he wasn't "able to share with this committee private communication" between himself and the president. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whether Sessions "lingered" because he knew he wasn't supposed to leave Comey alone with Trump, Sessions ducked: "What I did recall is I did depart", Sessions said, "and Director Comey was sitting in front of the president's desk and they were talking".

Sessions replied, "I am not stonewalling".

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"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", he said, stressing this was not the case.

Sessions adamantly maintained he was not, but insisted that he was following the "historic polices" of the Justice Department. Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after the revelations of the two Kislyak meetings.

In March he acknowledged he met twice previous year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. He explained that when he said he did not have any contacts with Russian officials during his confirmation testimony, he meant it in the context of the allegations of collusion, not in the context of routine meetings with foreign officials. Many of those who posted the picture have claimed that Sessions was speaking to Kislyak, though the photo only shows the men in close proximity, observes The Inquisitr. "This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it".

But the revelations forced Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March, and it is now being handled by a special counsel.

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"That's just not going to be acceptable", said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the committee.

Sessions refused to say whether he and Trump discussed FBI Director James Comey's handling of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the election campaign before the president fired Comey on May 9.

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Sessions refused to say if he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he would not disclose private communications with the president. He did not say he was using executive privilege, but rather adhering to longstanding tradition of Justice Department leaders not revealing private conversations with the president. Sessions said he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump, and members of Sessions' staff also were there. "If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador, I do not remember it", Sessions said.