Sessions' plans to testify surprised Senate intelligence panel members

Marsha Scott
June 12, 2017

Now, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify for those subcommittees in Sessions' place, while the AG testifies for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

He told Congress last Saturday that lawmakers on other panels had said they meant to ask him about the Russian Federation investigation, after testimony by former FBI director James Comey last Thursday. As of this writing, it's not clear if that will be in open session, or behind closed doors.

Whether that hearing will be public or closed is not known. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, an intelligence committee member, asked the panel's leaders in a letter on Sunday to hold an open hearing.

Sessions was originally scheduled to testify before the House and Senate subcommittees that oversee the budget for the Department of Justice.

The New York City federal prosecutor who expected to remain on the job when Trump took office but ended up being fired said he was made uncomfortable by one-on-one interactions with the president - just like Comey was. "I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible".

Schumer, in the same interview, invited Trump to testify before the Senate, responding to the president's Friday claim that he'd be "100 percent" willing to speak under oath.

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"We have to keep in mind that this is one person's record of what happened".

"This is going to prompt a lot of questions for him", the panel's top Democrat, Senator Patrick Leahy, told AFP, particularly on what role Mr Sessions played in Mr Comey's firing last month. "If there aren't tapes, he should let that be known".

"There are some questions about Sessions that have to be asked", Schumer said on CBS News' "Face the Nation".

Senators Lindsey Graham of SC and Dianne Feinstein of California, the Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called on Mr. Sessions to appear before their committee.

"Whether it's illegal is a whole 'nother issue, and that's up to the independent counsel", she said on CNN's "State of the Union", referring to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel leading the F.B.I. investigation. This was denied by the Justice Department in a statement. "You can't run forever", Leahy tweeted. Trump attributed his May 9 dismissal of Comey to the Russian Federation investigation. Either way, senators said he would face pointed questions not only about his contacts with Russian officials, but also about his conversations with James B. Comey, the ousted F.B.I. director. Sessions is already in hot water for failing to disclose during his confirmation hearing that he had meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak throughout the 2016 campaign.

Sessions in March removed himself from involvement in any probe into alleged Russian election meddling but maintained he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose that he met a year ago with Russia's ambassador.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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