Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Republicans seek to clear air on whether Trump has Comey tapes

Republicans seek to clear air on whether Trump has Comey tapes

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, whose contacts with Russia's ambassador to the US during the presidential campaign has sparked questions, agreed Saturday, June 10, to appear before the Senate intelligence committee as it investigates alleged Russian meddling in the election.

The Senate Appropriations Committee had called in the attorney general to testify about budget issues.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing fresh questions about his Russian contacts during the election campaign and his role in the firing of James Comey, will be interrogated in a public hearing by former Senate colleagues on Tuesday.

Pressure mounted at the start of the week following reports that Sessions offered his resignation to Trump because the President blamed Sessions for exacerbating his Russian Federation problems by recusing himself from the probe.

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Comey's testimony raised lingering questions surrounding Sessions' recusal from the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

During his televised testimony on Thursday, Comey that Sessions, a former 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, CNN reported.

Lankford, also appearing on Face the Nation, said Sessions' testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey's allegations, including Sessions' presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone.

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings.

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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". "We on the Intelligence Committee want to know the answers to those questions, and we have begun to request information from the attorney general to allow us to get to the bottom of that".

Comey additionally expressed that FBI leadership believed Sessions would "inevitably" recuse himself and that they "were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic".

Sessions said he would send Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the appropriations subcommittees in his stead to discuss budget matters.

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