Sessions to face sharp questions on Russian Federation contacts

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Media reports last week said Mr Sessions offered to resign because of tensions with Mr Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

Tuesday's testimony will be the first public hearing that Sessions will participate in after recusing himself from any Justice Department investigation into Russian Federation - a decision that reportedly continues to strain his relationship with Trump.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, an intelligence committee member, said senators were still deciding whether Sessions would be asked to testify in a classified briefing after the public hearing. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week she wasn't aware of whether the White House had any kind of taping system and suggested reporters check with the Secret Service on any security-related questions.

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russia's actions in the 2016 campaign.

The difference is Sessions still works for President Donald Trump, and he has a lot more to lose.

The Washington Post reported that Trump called Sessions up to the White House to talk about firing Comey, then asked Sessions (and Sessions's No. 2, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein) to explain in writing the case against Comey.

If he says yes, it could be an indication there are additional reasons for his recusal, beyond a few meetings with the Russian ambassador, that are not known publicly. Sessions, a former senator, later issued a clarification saying he had met with the ambassador.

Democrats have questioned why, given his recusal, Mr Sessions was involved in the president's 9 May dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin says a ruling that upholds the blocking of President Donald Trump's travel ban shows why the country has three branches of government.

According to Comey's testimony: "The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me". In fact, I suspect that someone on Trump's staff is combing though all his mentions of Comey tapes to see how they can spin it.

Later, Comey said he was so uncomfortable that he went to Sessions to "implore" him "to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be at the center of two controversies in the Trump administration: whether Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to help Trump win and whether the president obstructed justice. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) announced that the hearing would be public.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to discuss Trump's "private conversations" with Sessions about Comey, and he left open the possibility that the administration may ask the attorney general to invoke executive privilege regarding them.

The high-stakes testimony also takes place amid reported friction between Sessions and Trump, who criticized the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

She described Comey's testimony as "candid" and "thorough" and said she would support a subpoena if needed.

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