President Trump pleased with Sessions testimony

Asked about media reports that he had met with Kislyak on a third occasion at a Washington hotel previous year, Sessions testified that did not remember meeting or having a conversation with the ambassador at the event.

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".

Comey also testified he had told Trump he was not under investigation.

However, Sessions refused to say whether he ever spoke with Trump about firing Comey.

Sessions' dodges were similar to those of NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, both of whom refused to answer questions about conversations with the president in their testimonies last week.

-The most interesting parts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Tuesday testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence may have been the questions he didn't answer.

Sessions recommended the firing last month, raising questions about whether he violated his recusal from the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation. The probe over the possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation is now in the hands of special counsel Bob Mueller following the Comey dismissal.

"Any suggestion I participated in, or was aware of, collusion with the Russians is an appalling and detestable lie".

Rosenstein said he would not comply with any Trump order to oust Mueller absent a compelling reason and that no such reason now exists.

Sessions, a former Republican US senator and an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, is expected to be asked to explain why he told senators in January that he had no dealings with Russian officials a year ago while serving as an adviser to candidate Trump.

He also declined to say if Trump opposed Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe in March, and whether Justice Department officials discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the probe.

Besides Wyden, several other Democratic senators pressed Sessions over his refusal to discuss his conversations with President Trump over Comey's firing.

Sessions' testimony came days after fired FBI Director James Comey testified that he believed he was sacked as part of an effort to influence the agencies' investigation into Russia's meddling in the presidential polls.

The Justice Department subsequently released decades-old memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that it said supported Sessions' position. Sessions said of that moment: "He was concerned about it, and his recollection of what he said to me about this concern is consistent with my recollection".

Amid the firestorm over Comey's dismissal, the Justice Department's Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into Russian election interference and any collusion by Trump aides.

"As such, I have no knowledge about this investigation beyond what has been publicly reported, and I have taken no action with regard to any such investigation", he said.

And while he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Sessions insisted, "I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations".

Sessions also made it clear that he would not answer questions dealing with conversations he had with President Trump.

"I do not", Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

"I don't think the only options are you have to spill the beans on everything you said to the president of the United States, or you have to invoke executive privilege, especially when you're appearing voluntarily as all these witnesses do", he said.

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