US attorney general next in scandal's spotlight


In a letter to Senator Richard Shelby on Saturday, Sessions has written that his decision to appear comes in light of last week's testimony by fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

He will appear before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, he announced in a letter.

Though contact between the White House and the FBI has always been routed through the attorney general or deputy attorney general, Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into Russia's interference with last year's election after failing to disclose meetings with Kislyak during his January confirmation hearing.

Comey's testimony raised questions about Sessions' engagements with Russian Federation and his involvement in Comey's firing despite Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation, which Comey was leading. The following day, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, and several top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, demanded he resign. He said deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein would appear before the sub-committees.

Lawmakers on the appropriations committees had indicated an interest in questioning Sessions on Russian meddling in last year's presidential election rather than on the Department of Justice's budget, as was scheduled, leading to the decision, according to the letters.

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

Sessions has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

In January, Sessions was still a senator from the state of Alabama when he appeared at a hearing before his confirmation as attorney general.

It would be "fitting" for the attorney general to appear before Judiciary, Feinstein, the top Democrat on that panel, said on CNN. "The Washington Post and USA Today report that Sessions' appearance is expected to be closed".

Comey additionally expressed that FBI leadership believed Sessions would "inevitably" recuse himself and that they "were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic".

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Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.

On Comey's accusations that Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation of Flynn, Bharara said "no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction" of justice.

Feinstein acknowledged she "would have a queasy feeling, too" if Comey's testimony was true that Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe the FBI probe into Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation.

He would likely face questions from senators not only about meetings with Kislyak and subsequent recusal from the federal Russian Federation probe, but also about his involvement with the President's firing of Comey last month considering Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation, which Comey had been leading.

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