Sessions agrees to appear before Senate committee


Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in for sharp questioning by senators Tuesday on the extent of his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and of his involvement in the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey.

In a letter on Saturday to Senator Richard Shelby Mr Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations sub-committees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the committee to address matters that former Comey brought up last week in dramatic testimony to the same panel.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said Sunday "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts past year, 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. He said under oath at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain?

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

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With Sessions already under fire for failing to disclose the two meetings with Russians, CNN reported last week that investigators were looking into a possible third Sessions meeting with Kislyak, on the sidelines of an April 27, 2016 campaign event in Washington.

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians. The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, will appear in place of Sessions at the budget review.

Lankford appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation".

Sessions said he learned members of those subcommittees planned to ask him questions about the investigation into Russian election meddling, and decided the Senate Intelligence Committee was a more appropriate venue to field those questions. "We want to be able to get his side of it, get all the facts out there".

Feinstein said she did not necessarily believe Trump was unfit for office, as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has asserted, but said he has a "destabilizing effect" on government. "Doing policy by tweets is really a shakeup for us, because there's no justification presented".