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Jeff Sessions says he will discuss Comey with US Senate panel

Jeff Sessions says he will discuss Comey with US Senate panel”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Saturday that he plans to testify before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday, but it was not immediately clear if he would testify in public or private.

Former FBI Director James Comey hinted in his public hearing Thursday that Sessions, a former USA senator from Alabama, may have had additional contacts with Russians, and said in a closed hearing that investigators had received Russian intercepts detailing a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, sources familiar with the briefing told CNN on Thursday.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice past year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The former senator from Alabama told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said he was troubled that Sessions wouldn't appear before the appropriations panel and that the apparent reason was "he does not want to discuss the scope of his recusal from the investigation regarding the 2016 presidential campaign as well as his significant interactions with Russian officials".

In March, Sessions recused himself from supervising the investigation into possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In March, Mr. Sessions removed himself from any probe into alleged Russian meddling in the elections, but maintained he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose that he met previous year with Russia's ambassador.

Mr. Sessions had planned to appear before the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees, but the deputy attorney general will take his place, the letter said.

The following day, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe.

And, given Trump's statement that he had been thinking about the Russian Federation investigation when he chose to fire Comey, the former FBI director expressed doubt when asked whether Sessions had adhered to his recusal.

Despite the report, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday in response to a question from a reporter that Trump "absolutely" has confidence in Sessions.

If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain?

He is expected to answer accusations from former FBI Director James Comey, who testified before the committee on Thursday. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said.

In January, Sessions was still a senator from the state of Alabama when he appeared at a hearing before his confirmation as attorney general.

Comey said Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

In written testimony Comey said he told Sessions it was "inappropriate" for him to leave the Federal Bureau of Investigation director alone with the president, and that Sessions "did not reply".

CNN later reported that congressional investigators have been probing whether Sessions had a possible third, undisclosed meeting with Kislyak.



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