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7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday - help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.

Sessions repeatedly refused to discuss private conversations with Trump on a wide variety of topics.

The reasons Comey was let go were put in writing and those letters were released by the White House, Sessions said.

During his testimony, the former Alabama senator was often defiant, telling the committee allegations that he'd colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election was an "appalling and detestable lie" and that he'd never recused himself "from defending my honor against scurrilous and false accusations".

Sessions became visibly angry when asked about former FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week that aspects of the attorney general's recusal were problematic.

Sessions raised his voice in protest when asked what those reasons were.

Sessions denied all of it and shielded his boss from any potential damage.

Sessions got himself in a jam for not disclosing all his contacts with Russians.

Additionally, if Comey had been concerned about meeting with the president one-on-one, a concern to which he testified last week, Sessions said Comey should've informed another Justice Department official. The pair is also expected to meet with Mueller as soon as this week, Schiff said on Tuesday.

"These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me", Sessions said. They've gone down lots of other rabbit trails, but not that question.

SHAPIRO: Beyond his explanation for that particular remark, were there things you learned from today's hearing that you think could be important to the investigation?

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who sits on the intelligence committee, said he fears that administration officials will "blur the lines between executive privilege and classification, and over-classification". "I am not stonewalling".

It could be because they didn't like seeing one of their former colleagues - Sessions was in the Senate 20 years - under the hot glare of the national spotlight.

Executive privilege can be claimed by a president or senior government officials to withhold information from Congress or the courts to protect the executive branch decision-making process.

And yet, he told Sen. That revelation prompted the attorney general in March to recuse himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian election meddling.

"It's unacceptable that Sessions - the top law enforcement official in the country - can not name his legal basis for evading questions", Harris, a former Attorney General of California, said on Twitter. He could not point to specific Justice Department language, even though Sessions said he had consulted with department attorneys before the hearing. He then asked Mr. Sessions if there was any question the senators had neglected to ask.

"I did not have any private meetings, nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel".

FRANKEN: Well, I would ask the chairman to ask him to do it and if he refuses to do it, to make him come before us. Pressed by the committee's chairman, Senator Richard Burr, Sessions seemed apologetic about his memory.

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders spoke with reporters not long after the hearing and said the president was able to watch parts of it. According to Sessions, James Comey mishandled the Clinton email investigation by usurping the Attorney General's authority to determine whether a prosecution should continue, by publically commenting on the ongoing investigation, and by commenting negatively against Mrs. Clinton after clearing her of any charge.

Sessions' silence kept a lid on important details that could have illuminated much more of the Russian Federation story. Now, in order to do this, Donald Trump would have to order the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, to fire Mueller. We have oversight over the Justice Department.

Ironically, Sessions was one of the senators questioning Gonzales that day and expressed frustration with Gonzales' faulty memory. "I also recognize the gravity of the committee's current investigation and the need for the American people to be presented the facts, so that they might make their own judgments". If I don't qualify it, you accuse me of lying. In doing so he appears to be saying simply that he just doesn't know whether Trump will invoke executive privilege.

Sessions, a senior member of Trump's Cabinet and an adviser to his election campaign a year ago, had a series of tense exchanges with Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee during about 2-1/2 hours of testimony as they pressed him to recount discussions with the Republican president.

But Sessions said that despite his sense of problems at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he never raised that with Comey.

But Comey was kept on for months after they were both confirmed. The then-acting deputy attorney general was Comey's direct supervisor, and if he had concerns about Sessions staying involved in the Russian Federation investigation, Sessions said he should've brought those concerns to her attention.

-He said he felt OK leaving Comey alone with the president in the Oval Office.

Sessions was critical of the investigation, but seemingly only because it didn't "get to the bottom" of what happened. It's just, like, through the looking-glass.

Sessions shot back: "I am not stonewalling".

Russian Federation has denied any such interference, and Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign with Moscow.

And Trump himself undercut the reasoning for firing Comey that Sessions and Rosenstein had presented, saying he was going to fire Comey anyway "regardless of recommendation".

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