Sessions' testimony to Congress Tuesday to be open to public

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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.

In front of the Intel panel on Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey said that he didn't discuss all of his questionable Trump interactions with Sessions because senior management at the FBI believed the attorney general would soon recuse himself from the investigation into Russia's campaign influence operation.

If Sessions chooses to opt out of answering certain questions, legal experts say the committee can hold him in contempt - but that could elongate the testimony and could potentially take months.

To return to my opening question with another rhetorical question, is it even possible to be too cynical about anything in Donald Trump's orbit?

Of special interest will be Comey's assertion that he told Sessions after the meeting that he never again wanted to be left alone with the president.

This will be the first time Sessions has testified in Congress since he recused himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in last year's election, and since the firing of FBI Director James Comey. According to sources, Comey said he met with Kislyak a third time.

The White House has already acknowledged that Sessions will not hesitate to invoke executive privilege, which may limit knowledge-sharing quite a bit. Sessions, an early Trump supporter, recused himself in March from oversight of the FBI's probe into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians when his meetings with Kislyak became known.

The announcement caps the drama that started over the weekend when Sessions canceled two appearances Tuesday, citing former Comey's blistering testimony last week. He said that he would testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee instead, though it was unclear initially if the hearing would be open or closed to the public.




Discussions with the attorney general on topics within the scope of the President's constitutional duties ordinarily would be protected, lawyers say.

"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.

Sessions defended his meetings with Kislyak, saying these happened when he was a U.S. Senator.

As these investigations remain ongoing, no substantive evidence exists that shows the Trump campaign worked with Moscow. During his nomination hearing in January, the former senator told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no contacts with Russian officials as part of the Trump campaign.

Comey described the Oval Office meeting, before his one-on-one with Trump, as "a scheduled counterterrorism briefing". That's what I think he's going to be considerably anxious about. "And - but I did not tell him about the Flynn part".

"The peril to Sessions is a great deal more regarding those conversations with the Russians because he made sworn statements on his security clearances that appear to be contradictory to his actual record with contact with Russians", Toobin said.

LawNewz.com has reached out to Department of Justice for comment, but they have not immediately responded.

According to Comey's testimony, the others in the room, all of whom were asked to leave before the Flynn conversation, included Vice President Mike Pence; Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA; Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, now the secretary of Homeland Security.

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