Published: Tue, June 13, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Sandra Brady

Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify in public hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify in public hearing

"As NPR's Carrie Johnson recently reported on All Things Considered: "[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow", DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement, relayed by NPR's Carrie Johnson.

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United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a central figure in the investigation into connections between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation, will tell his side of the story in open, public testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week - and even though the U.S. Justice Department claims that Sessions himself requested that his testimony be public rather than behind close doors like many Intelligence Committee hearings, according to a report on Monday, Sessions may remain tight-lipped anyway.

The abrupt schedule change follows blockbuster testimony last week from former FBI Director James B. Comey.

Comey's remarks drew an angry response from the president on Friday accusing Comey of lying. Barring the emergence of evidence such as a surreptitious recording of the conversation - Trump tweeted that Comey had better hope there are no tapes - deciding which of the two men's accounts is factual may depend on which details most accurately reflect others' recollections. Comey said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. "And - but I did not tell him about the Flynn part".

Members of both the Senate and House intelligence committees have insisted since that hearing that it is important they verify Comey's testimony. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said.

On Monday, the White House did not rule out the possibility of Sessions invoking executive privilege at some point during his testimony.

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The hearing comes less than a week after Mr. Comey riveted Washington with his own Senate testimony - and hinted Mr. Sessions may have had even more contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin's government than previously disclosed.

Sessions initially was scheduled to appear at a hearing about the Justice Department's budget on Tuesday morning.

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign. Comey was leading that probe. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, urging him to investigate possible obstruction of justice by Trump in Grassley's position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

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.

"The Committee can negotiate with the Administration to get answers to narrower or different questions or to get answers in a closed session", Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor at Duke University School of Law, told CNN. In light of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey's testimony last week, Sessions is expected to get many questions from lawmakers about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election campaign. It was later revealed that he met with Kislyak on at least two occasions - encounters that Sessions differentiated by portraying them as coming in the course of his duties as a senator, not within his role in the Trump campaign. A little more than two months later, however, the Attorney-General signed a letter recommending Mr. Trump fire Mr. Comey, a sacking the President acknowledged had to do with the Russian Federation investigation.

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