Domingo, 27 May, 2018

Heinrich: Sessions' testimony shows 'concerted effort' to obstruct investigation

Heinrich: Sessions' testimony shows 'concerted effort' to obstruct investigation Heinrich: Sessions' testimony shows 'concerted effort' to obstruct investigation
Irune Rengel | 14 Junio, 2017, 10:57

Testifying at a Senate hearing, Sessions said it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest that he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. I can tell you that for absolute certainty.

"You are not answering questions. You're impeding this investigation", Heinrich said.

Similar to former FBI Director James Comey, who testified before the same committee last week, Sessions came out ready to defend himself. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked whether Trump had expressed any frustration with Sessions about his decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation. Sessions previously offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his recusal decision.

Sessions refused to answer numerous committee's questions about conversations he is believed to have had with Trump as, in the attorney general's opinion, doing so would violate executive privilege.

The attorney general never sought or received a briefing on Russian interference in the election.

Sessions did not ask the White House about whether Trump was invoking executive privilege over his testimony and Trump did not opt to assert the privilege, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

He added that any assertion that he did not honestly answer the question at the confirmation hearing is "false".

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SESSIONS: No - yes, I do.

Instead he maintained that he was "not stonewalling", but "following the historic policies of the Department of Justice".

"Without repeating any conversation that took place, what I do recall is I did depart and everybody else did depart and Director Comey was sitting in front of the president's desk - and they were talking".

This was among the many times Sessions attempted to explain that he is protecting the President's right to choose to invoke executive privilege in not sharing the details of conversations.

USA intelligence agencies concluded in a report released in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to interfere in the election to help Trump in part by hacking and releasing damaging emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Comey told the intelligence committee that, after an encounter with President Trump in which he said Trump pressured him to back off an investigation into the former national security adviser, Comey "implored" Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with the president again - but that Sessions didn't respond. The attorney general declined to say whether he knew the president was firing Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation - leaving this an open question seems to me damaging to his own case.

"I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling", Wyden said.

Sessions also testified that he had never had any meetings with officials from Russian Federation or anywhere else about interference in the U.S. election.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in by Senator Richard Burr.

Trump watched Sessions testify aboard Air Force One during about 90-minute flight to Milwaukee, an aide told CNN.

According to Sessions, James Comey mishandled the Clinton email investigation by usurping the Attorney General's authority to determine whether a prosecution should continue, by publically commenting on the ongoing investigation, and by commenting negatively against Mrs. Clinton after clearing her of any charge. If Mueller investigates the Comey dismissal, he'll likely want to talk to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein before speaking with or taking testimony from the president.

In March he acknowledged he met twice past year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak.

Sessions' determination to mount a vigorous rebuttal after Comey's testimony before the committee last week raised questions about the administration's conduct was clear from the moment he began his opening statement. Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.

The White House has moved to put a lid on speculation that President Donald Trump might fire the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation affair, while leaving just enough of a crack to keep the idea bubbling.

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Secretary of State Tillerson said the State Department is continuing to discuss three other detained Americans with North Korea. Fowle left a Bible in a local club hoping a North Korean would find it, which is considered a criminal offense in North Korea.

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