Jeff Sessions raises his voice at Senator Wyden during hearing
Jeff Sessions raises his voice at Senator Wyden during hearing
14 Junio, 2017, 10:44
Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pressed Sessions on why the attorney general actually recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.
The attorney general explained that he met with "a senior ethics official" at the Justice Department in February as press reports emerged questioning his involvement in the investigation, given his role in Trump's campaign. It began over the weekend when Trump's lawyer wouldn't rule it out; then his associate Newt Gingrich appeared to call for it, as did some conservative commentators; Trump's friend Chris Ruddy said he was actually considering it.
"I have no knowledge about this investigation as it is ongoing today beyond what has been publicly reported", said Sessions.
The White House said Trump thinks Sessions "did a very good job" in his testimony.
The Justice Department has said Sessions recused himself in March because of his involvement in Trump's campaign, but in his dramatic appearance last Thursday, Comey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew of information that would have made it "problematic" for Sessions to be involved. "That regulation states in effect that department employees should not participate in investigations either came pain if they served as a campaign adviser".
"I have confidence in Bob Mueller", said top House Republican Paul Ryan, in remarks echoed by top senator Mitch McConnell.
Comey recalled that he felt "something big" was about to happen, and "my sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving".
Sessions said it would be "inappropriate" for him to reveal private conversations with Trump when the president "has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer". "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller".
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.
But Sessions has not addressed this issue directly, nor broader questions about his relationship with Comey.
Democratic senators have seized on the possibility of a third meeting to suggest that Sessions has not been forthcoming about the extent of his communications with the ambassador.
But "I am not stonewalling", he said, his voice rising. "It simply did not occur to me to go further than the context of the question and list any conversations I may have had with Russians in routine situations, as I had with numerous other foreign officials".
Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation in March after revelations that he had failed to disclose two meetings previous year with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. "I was standing there". Flynn had resigned the previous day, and Trump, Comey alleged, said "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go". Richard Burr (R-NC). "I know nothing but what I've read in the paper", he said.
But the attorney general added that he needed to not discuss his conversations with Trump, to preserve the president's ability to theoretically invoke executive privilege in the future. But many Democrats have accused Sessions of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee during his January confirmation hearing.
Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of several congressional panels also investigating the Russian Federation matter, was scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), the latest chapter in a saga that has clouded the Republican president's domestic agenda.
Attorney General Jeff Session, right, and Vice President Mike Pence attend a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.
He may also face questions about comments by Mr Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax, who suggested Monday that the president was considering firing Mr Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to lead the FBI's Russian Federation probe.
Rumours have since circulated that the president may seek to sack special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to head the high-stakes investigation following Mr Comey's ouster.
During the two-and-a-half hour hearing, he engaged in testy exchanges with several senators who pressed him for details on his discussions with Trump - which he refused to provide in the name of confidentiality. "And when asked I said that to the president".
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