The Sessions Inquisition Comes Up Empty: Trump Unscathed After Attorney General's Testimony


-The most interesting parts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Tuesday testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence may have been the questions he didn't answer. Richard Burr, R-N.C., listen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He opened his testimony with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about "any type of interference" in the 2016 presidential election.

"People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest about matters, and I've tried to be honest", he said.

He said he did not have a third meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel during the campaign as Democrats had speculated.

Sessions, a former Republican U.S. senator and an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, testified just five days after Comey told the panel Trump ousted him to undermine the agency's investigation of the Russian Federation matter. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about his two meetings with Kislyak.

He disputed that his involvement in Comey's firing violated the recusal. Did Trump complain about the Russian Federation probe at that meeting?

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According to the report, "the move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump's own conduct marks a major turning point in the almost year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign".

Sessions said in so many words that he couldn't read Trump's mind, and that as a matter of long-standing policy he wasn't going to repeat conversations he had on the topic with the president. A senior Republican staffer was reportedly incredulous when asked whether Sessions thought of himself as a foreign policy specialist and met regularly with ambassadors while he was a senator. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich accused Mr. Sessions of "obstructing" the committee and "impeding this investigation".

Sessions also told Harris he didn't want to be rushed during his questioning because it "makes me nervous". "You don't walk into any hearing or committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with president of the United States, who is entitled to receive confidential communications in your best judgment about a host of issues".

Sessions' testimony comes after former FBI Director James Comey appeared before the same panel last week.

"I take the president at his word - that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", said Comey during his Congressional testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 6.

Sessions was involved in the Trump campaign since early 2016. "Franken's question honestly - colleagues. that is false", he said. "There are none", the Attorney-General responded.

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"I am not stonewalling", Sessions said.

Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting. "It certainly doesn't seem like a sinister interaction, as far as we can tell".

He said if he did see the ambassador at the function, it was only in passing, but he couldn't recall it.

Democratic senators pressed Sessions on the legal rationale for his refusal to discuss those private conversations, as Sessions acknowledged that Trump had not asserted executive privilege regarding the hearing.

But Sessions proved he is clearly capable of giving an answer in black and white. He told the Senate then that he "did not have communications with the Russians".

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