Attorney General Sessions next up for Capitol Hill scrutiny


Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, five days days after fired FBI Director James Comey appeared before the same panel.

Comey thrust Sessions back into the spotlight of the roiling Russian Federation controversy with his incendiary appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week - the same panel that will interrogate the attorney general.

In March, Sessions removed himself from any probe into alleged Russian meddling in the elections, but maintained he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose that he met past year with Russia's ambassador.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested that the committee hearing be public. 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".

Sessions is under scrutiny for his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the presidential campaign.

Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.

Sessions is said to have offered to resign over the strain.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Democratic Senator Jack Reed questioned on Sunday why Sessions was involved in Trump's May 9 dismissal of Comey after he had recused himself from investigations of whether Russian Federation meddled in the election, possibly with help from Trump associates. Warren said she is looking forward to finding out more about Sessions' role in Comey's firing, although the White House suggested Sessions could invoke executive privilege during his testimony depending on "the scope of the questions".

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Alongside Democratic lawmakers, advocates of democracy and transparency are crying foul over indications that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' scheduled testimony before a congressional panel on Tuesday will be shielded from the public by being conducted behind closed doors.

The attorney general has also been the subject of rumors that he might leave the Trump administration.

There is a way that Sessions could skirt around having to directly answer these questions, however. That's what I think he's going to be considerably anxious about.

She described Comey's testimony as "candid" and "thorough" and said she would support a subpoena if needed.

Asked if he thinks Sessions will answer these questions, Reed said, "I don't know frankly".

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations that look at Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions said under oath that he "did not have communications with the Russians" during the campaign; he later admitted he met with the ambassador twice. CNN reported in May that Sessions omitted any of these meetings from his SF-86.

"We need to talk about the Russian Federation meetings, the meetings with the ambassadors", Rep. Adam Kinzinger told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour".

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director also testified that he and the agency had believed Sessions was "inevitably going to recuse" for reasons he said he could not elaborate on. Comey said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.