Sessions to testify before Senate intelligence panel

Sessions to testify before Senate intelligence panel

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will stand in for Sessions at the planned appropriations subcommittee hearings on Tuesday.

Asked Monday if the White House thought Sessions should invoke executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his conversations with Trump, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer replied, "It depends on the scope of the questions". Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that he couldn't discuss the "problematic" reason why the FBI believed Sessions would have to recuse himself from the investigation.

In a letter seen by the Reuters news Agency, Mr Sessions told Senator, Richard Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Sub committee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, that the Intelligence Committee is the "most appropriate" place to address matters that came up during James Comey's hearing last Thursday.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. The following day, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, and several top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, demanded he resign. Multiple sources confirmed that the president was disappointed with the attorney general's recusal - a decision Trump only learned about minutes before it was announced in March.

Sessions has been dogged by questions about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Sessions had come under fire for failing to report two other meetings with the ambassador, but he says he recused only because he had worked so closely with Trump during the campaign.

The Justice Department, which Sessions heads, has been investigating contacts between the Russian government and President Donald Trump's campaign organization before last November's general election, when Trump was a candidate and had not yet been chosen by American voters to be president.

Briefing congressional appropriators on the Justice Department's budget is a critical part of the attorney general's job.

Trump's alleged comments to Comey about Flynn "is a big deal, and can't be excused by simply being a novice", Preet Bharara said on ABC's This Week, the first televised interview since his own firing by Trump in March as a federal prosecutor in NY. "My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving", Comey added.

In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again.

The move is a prominent switch from his previous plans to testify publicly on the Justice Department's budget and puts him more directly in the firing line over questions about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States and a federal investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

With the Russian Federation story spreading, the Justice Department in May appointed former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, widely respected within both parties, as a special counsel to head a separate Russian Federation probe.

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