by Countable | 6.13.17
Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee today and was quizzed by senators on topics ranging from the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, Sessions' meetings with Russian officials, to his recusal from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
In his fiery opening remarks, Sessions pushed back against the suggestion that he was aware of and helped to facilitate Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling such insinuations an "appalling and detestable lie." Sessions contradicted reports that he’d had a third meeting with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel prior to a foreign policy speech given by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, while acknowledging the two meetings with Kislyak he’d previously disclosed. He added that his recusal from the Russia probe didn’t preclude him from “defending his honor against scurrilous and dishonest allegations” and issued an outright denial that he was involved in any way in collusion with Russians to undermine the election:
When asked about his decision to recuse himself from the ongoing probe into Russian influence, Sessions said that it’s an established policy for an individual who served in an advisory or campaign capacity with the subject of an investigation to recuse themselves from participating in the investigation. As someone who served as a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, Sessions said he "qualified as a significant advisor-type person" so he recused himself, not out of concern that he could be targeted by the probe.
That led to a question about a comment made last week to the committee by former FBI Director James Comey during his testimony that there were unreported "problematic" matters that prompted Sessions’ recusal which he couldn’t discuss. Sessions forcefully called that suggestion innuendo and denied the existence of such matters during an exchange with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR):
Interactions between Sessions and Comey, especially in light of the attorney general’s recusal, were also the subject of questioning during the hearing. Sessions pushed back against Comey’s assertion that he just shrugged when the former FBI leader informed him that he was uncomfortable with being in direct communication with Trump regarding the Russia probe. Sessions said he told Comey that there are policies for the Dept. of Justice and FBI to follow in contacting the White House, and told the committee that while those rules don’t prohibit such interactions he expected Comey to follow those policies, which he did to his knowledge.
The attorney general’s involvement in Comey’s firing also came up, with Sessions saying that the memo he wrote to echo what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the FBI director’s immediate supervisor — detailed in his "did not violate my recusal." Sessions cited a “lack of discipline” that he’d observed over time as being a key factor in his decision to back Rosenstein’s decision.
In Rosenstein’s memo, he outlined the mishandling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, from usurping then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s authority to make a decision about bringing charges to holding a press conference to discuss that no charges were appropriate which contradict DOJ policy. Notably, Sessions said that he and Rosenstein had discussed those issues before they were even confirmed because they’d become such a point of controversy among current and former members of the DOJ community.
One aspect of Sessions’ testimony that drew repeated questions from Democratic members of the committee was his declining to answer questions involving discussions he’d had with President Trump, particularly as they relate to potential pardons. Sessions cited the need for confidentiality in why he wouldn’t answer those questions but stopped short of invoking executive privilege, saying that it’d be "premature for me to deny the president a full and intelligent choice about executive privilege."
It’s worth noting that there have been other times in recent years when members of an administration declined to comment without invoking executive privilege — such as the refusal by a member of former President Obama’s national security team to testify about his discussions with the president regarding the messaging of the Iran nuclear deal. Senators asked Sessions to consult with the White House about whether he could be cleared to respond to those questions in future, either in writing or in a closed hearing.
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— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Office of the President-elect / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
It's sad to watch the apologist republicans pander to Sessions. As soon as someone like Kamala Harris has him on the ropes they ride in and save him and slap her hands for being so rough. I was around for Watergate. This is worse, mainly because back then the republicans were just as interested in getting to the truth as the democrats. Truth mattered then. Ben though it was their guy committing the crimes. This is painful to watch. The prostitution of an entire party.
He lied in his confirmation hearing. Why believe him now? His credibility has been shot and he's a bigot.
I can't remember isn't an answer. May be he should retire because his memory is gone.
He has no credibility. Hopefully, the information will surface and he will be forced to resign--along with his boss!
An Attorney General that "cannot recall" such a large number of conversations and events is not fit to serve! Due to unsound mind the AG must be removed from his position.
People who have that much difficulty remembering things usually end up in the nursing home dementia unit, not a political position. But the GOP seems to be the new dementia ward.
So Dawn, you mean let it go as in ignore the piles of lies, evasions and denigration of our government ? That's the kind of "thinking" that got us this pretender-in-chief.
He's under oath, so if we can prove he lied, we are headed in the right direction. Nothing the Trump admin says on the TV matters, but under oath we have them condemning themselves.
I'm getting worried about the inability of Sessions to recall conversations and meetings. He might not be capable of leading the Justice Department!
We begged you all not to appoint him because he is a bigot. Now we find out he has lied to us. Do what you want. History will remember.
Executive privilege that has NOT been invoked should NOT be cited as an excuse or rationale for refusing to answer direct questions under oath. Please, do your jobs and hold Jeff Sessions and the others accountable. WE (citizens) pay their,and your, salaries. We (voters) decide whether they, or you, hold office. DO YOUR JOBS AND HOLD THEM, and POTUS, accountable. Thank you.
Sessions sure didn't act like someone who is innocent.
Demand a resignation from Sessions!
So scurrilous! ....Rambling to take up time, you just made yourself look even smaller today....If you don't think we caught how you said " you NEVER inquired about Russian interference", you are not only an idiot, but if true, certainly not qualified for the position you hold..,,,
I think Sessions and the Trump mob want to intimidate the American people!!! Yeah, good luck with that, mafia don Trump!!!
All public officials MUST be accountable to the American people. If Mr Sessions was involved in any hearings as a Senator, then he needs to answer the questions, stop pretending to be offended and get with the program. As an engaged citizen, I want to know what happened and who in the Executive branch may have or gave the appearance of collusion. Russians hacked into 39 Voting systems in various states (or 39 State's county voting systems), they will be trying again. We deserve to know and then resource strong fixes to protect our democratic integrity. Attorney General Sessions should tough-up and address the real questions. He should be protecting our country and constitution. When will he and others put country and constitution before party?
Selective amnesia is a really scary attribute in an attorney general! I call it lying!
AG Sessions must remember that he serves we the people and that we deserve the truth. Particularly important after watching the cabinet bowing down to Trump this week.
It's sad to watch the apologist republicans pander to Sessions. As soon as someone like Kamala Harris has him on the ropes they ride in and save him and slap her hands for being so rough. I was around for Watergate. This is worse, mainly because back then the republicans were just as interested in getting to the truth as the democrats. Truth mattered then. Ben though it was their guy committing the crimes. This is painful to watch. The prostitution of an entire party. The sad thing is nothing is going to happen.
He was a good little Trumpet today just like at the fake cabinet meeting/loyalty test.