5 things we learned at Jeff Sessions' hearing

Posted June 15, 2017

Sessions kicked off his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee by asserting that he had "never met with or had any conversations with any Russians" about interference in the 2016 presidential race.

In Tuesday's testimony, Sessions agreed that he was one of the last men to leave the Oval Office that day but said in response to questions from Senator Marco Rubio that he didn't have "a major problem" with a private meeting between Comey and Trump.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., criticized Sessions for taking an oath to tell the truth and then refusing to answer questions. Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign. "I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his deputy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation director they helped fire all appeared in dramatic congressional hearings this past week to talk about President Donald Trump.

In the hearing, Sessions said although President Donald Trump has not invoked executive privilege in connection with his testimony, he would not reveal information about their private conversations without allowing Trump to determine if he wanted it revealed.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2017. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

When Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Sessions, "Did you discuss director Comey's handling of the investigations with the president or anyone else?" the Attorney General declined to answer.

Mueller also won votes of support Tuesday from the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both of whom said they have confidence in him.

"Anyone who has ever worked with Jim as far as I know, certainly speaking for myself, holds him in incredibly high esteem", said Sharon McCarthy, who worked for him at the US attorney's office.

Sessions' testimony did not provide any damaging new information on Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation or on Comey's dismissal, but his refusal to discuss conversations with Trump raised fresh questions about whether the White House has something to hide.

However, FBI Director Robert Mueller and his assistant James Comey (as well as Jack Goldsmith, the Justice Department's legal adviser) didn't believe it passed constitutional muster.

Senate intelligence committee member Sen.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted on March 2: "No call or meeting w/Russian Ambassador".

Sessions was passionate in defending himself and his work as the attorney general.

Sessions showed flashes of anger rarely seen from the 70-year-old Alabamian, calling any suggestion that he colluded with Russian Federation to interfere in the US presidential election a "detestable lie".

But Sessions, who recommended in a signed memo that Comey be fired, may end up claiming executive privilege as a means of limiting the breadth of his testimony. "He was preparing for the stop here today", said Sanders.

Sessions testified that he never been briefed about the USA intelligence community's finding in October 2016 that Russian Federation sought to influence the outcome of the US election. Comey said the president then leaned on him to halt the Flynn investigation.

I'm not saying the Comey Method can work for everyone who has been mistreated in the workplace, or harassed or asked to do something unethical, but it provides a valuable template for fighting back with style.

More recently, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to block Attorney General Eric Holder from releasing documents in the Fast and Furious scandal.