Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Jeff Sessions' explanation for firing Comey just doesn't make sense


In a fiery Senate intelligence committee hearing, Sessions raised his voice in indignation as he blasted claims that he had colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election as an "appalling and detestable lie". Sessions's recusal came the day after The Post reported the first two meetings, but Sessions said he was already talking with lawyers about whether his Trump campaign work would force him to hand over the Russian Federation investigation to his deputy. "It is absurd, frankly, to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render an attorney general unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations", he said. "In retrospect", Sessions told reporters, "I should have slowed down and said, 'But I did meet one Russian official a couple of times, and that would be the ambassador".

Former FBI Director James Comey, in a little-noticed moment during his Senate Intelligence Committee testimony last week, said Trump never once asked him about Russia's interference in the USA election as it related to national security during their nine conversations before he fired Comey in early May. Sessions requested an open hearing, though he made clear in his opening remarks and several times during his testimony that there were some things he would not discuss, including confidential conversations with the president.

"He didn't tell us the truth", Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told MSNBC Monday.

"The intelligence community seems to be united in that", Sessions said. "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged or off limits".

"I'm not able to be rushed this fast, it makes me nervous", Sessions said. I thought Sessions would avoid answering any questions, but I figured that he would cite classified information or use some other acceptable obfuscation.

The questioning grew so contentious at one point that Harris had to be reminded by Committee Chairman Sen.

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"Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my chief of staff". The alleged interference has been reported by USA intelligence agencies since at least last October, before the election had even come to an end.

Before he became attorney general, Sessions served two decades as a Republican senator from Alabama. But Democrats on the Senate panel are likely to press him on issues such as his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has heatedly denied he had any undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador or conversations with Russian officials about the U.S. elections.

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.

If Sessions actually knew Trump wanted Comey gone over the Russian investigation and helped engineer a different rationale, that would violate his recusal of all matters Russian in a way that could lead to obstruction of justice suspicions for him as well as the president.

Asked what he would do if the president ordered him to fire Mueller, Rosenstein said, "I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders".

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Then there was the fact, revealed in Sessions' testimony yesterday, that he had never met with Comey to discuss what he took to be his poor performance.

He said he felt okay leaving Comey alone with the president in the Oval Office. But I have to tell you, Senator King, I know nothing but what I've read in the paper.

Trump's dismissal last month of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Comey - who was overseeing the Russian Federation probe - has led to questions about potential obstruction of justice.

Although Sessions backed Trump's campaign, he was also one of the first administration officials to fly into turbulence. He said Comey lingered behind to "talk to the president". "But that in itself is not problematic".

He said the attorney general's refusal to speak about discussions with Mr Trump "speaks volumes". "I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice, and basically backed him up in his concerns".

He said Comey never talked with him about the investigation.

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But Sessions, who recommended in a signed memo that Comey be fired, may end up claiming executive privilege as a means of limiting the breadth of his testimony.

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