Jeff Sessions: Russia collusion claim 'detestable lie'

Cheryl Sanders
June 14, 2017

Since his recommendation to fire Comey had nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation; he had no reason to recuse from it and every reason as Attorney General to make it.

"I recused myself from any investigation into the campaigns for president, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations", he said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday that he had any undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador or conversions with Russian officials about the USA elections.

In particular, Sessions tamped down Comey's recounting of the February 14 meeting Comey had with Trump - where Trump reportedly asked him stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In another exchange with lawmakers, Sessions disputed Comey's testimony about a key discussion the two of them had in February, after the president met with Comey alone and privately suggested the Federal Bureau of Investigation drop its probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"He didn't recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policy regarding appropriate contacts with the White House", Sessions told the panel.

The former Alabama senator also defended himself against accusations that he misrepresented himself during his confirmation hearing when he said he had not met with Russian officials during the campaign.

Mr Sessions said that in the context of the hearing, "my answer was a fair and correct response to the charge as I understood it".

Jeff Sessions on Tuesday denounced as a "detestable lie" the idea he colluded with Russians meddling in the 2016 election. He also asked why Sessions recused himself from oversight of the FBI's Russian Federation probe and wanted to know what role in played in Comey's dismissal.

Why did Sessions recuse from the Russian Federation investigation?

In his testimony on Tuesday, Sessions addressed media reports that he may have had a third previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower Hotel past year. That raises a couple of questions: why it took him an entire month to announce his recusal after he was sworn in, and what Comey was referring to when he testified last week that Sessions' continued involvement in the Russian Federation investigation was rendered "problematic" by facts that couldn't be discussed in open session. - Sen. Ron Wyden to Sessions. So I would say the mystery here only deepened. "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. "People are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest. and I've tried to be honest".

As for his role in Mr Comey's sacking, Mr Sessions told senators that he and his second-in-command, Rod Rosenstein, had a "clear view. that we had problems there, and it was my best judgment that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the appropriate thing to do".

As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he's had with Trump.

What role did Sessions play in the removal of FBI Director James Comey?

In a February meeting, Comey said, Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. The deputy attorney general, a civil servant, assured a congressional committee he would resist an unwarranted dismissal order: "I'm not going to follow any order unless I believe they are lawful and appropriate orders".

While asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his refusal to answer questions Tuesday concerning conversations he may have had with President Donald Trump, the California Democrat was interrupted by Sen.

That's yet another example of something we saw in last week's committee questioning of Comey - pro-Trump Republicans are willing to challenge the unproven implication of collusion with the Russians and defend their own honor, but seem unwilling to parrot the latest White House talking points.

"I've watched that video so many times", said Flores.

But Sessions disputed that was why he lingered, suggesting there was really nothing to it.

Comey was overseeing thousands of investigations at the time of his firing, Sessions argued, so the fact that he was recused from just one of them shouldn't mean he couldn't make a judgment call on Comey's leadership abilities.

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