Fresh questions for Sessions _ and he'll answer in public

Posted June 13, 2017

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations that look at Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign.

It could be another intriguing day of testimony on Capitol Hill when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions goes before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon, as Sessions is expected to face questions about his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the extent of any contacts that the former U.S. Senator had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. There had been some question as to whether the hearing would be open to the public, but the Justice Department said Monday he requested it be so because he "believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him".

To return to my opening question with another rhetorical question, is it even possible to be too cynical about anything in Donald Trump's orbit?

After that failure to disclose came to light, Sessions defended himself and sent supplemental testimony to the Senate.

His testimony follows fired FBI Director James Comey's riveting session before the same Senate panel last week.

Diane Marie Amann, a law professor at University of Georgia, agreed with Spicer that invoking privilege was possible: "It depends on the questions that are asked", she said.

"If Jeff Sessions refuses to answer questions tomorrow, he's going to refuse to answer questions tomorrow", Toobin said.

The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee comes one week after former FBI Director Comey cryptically told lawmakers the bureau had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he did from an investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies about the Russia probe at an opening hearing conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday

What was Comey referring to last week about Sessions? Sessions is especially important to the case because as the attorney general, he was Comey's boss, and because Comey testified "the attorney general lingered by my chair, but the president thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me".

Discussions with the attorney general on topics within the scope of the President's constitutional duties ordinarily would be protected, lawyers say.

Though we may not learn a lot about the Russian Federation investigation, we will be able to better assess Sessions' survival by the end of the day. A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

Trump made his frustration known publicly on Twitter on June 5, when he criticized Sessions's office for the way it acted on the president's travel ban on visitors from some Muslim-majority countries. During his nomination hearing in January, the former senator told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no contacts with Russian officials as part of the Trump campaign.

"I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all", said Sen.

The Attorney General has been under fire for his involvement with the Russians. Trump has said publicly in an NBC News interview that he fired Comey because of "this Russian Federation thing", though White House spokespersons had previously denied that there was a connection between Comey's firing and the Russian Federation investigation. That's what I think he's going to be considerably anxious about.

The White House, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

According to Comey's testimony, the others in the room, all of whom were asked to leave before the Flynn conversation, included Vice President Mike Pence; Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA; Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, now the secretary of Homeland Security.