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Sessions' testimony to Congress Tuesday to be open to public

13 June, 2017, 11:44 | Author: Melody Ballard
  • James Comey

On the line to talk about all this is NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

Why this is a big deal: Sessions is a Trump ally, and he appears to be caught between the president and his promise to run the Justice Department in an apolitical way. Over the weekend, he announced a change.

Bob Graham, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that Comey's testimony last week "created a political, if not a legal situation, in which Attorney General Sessions is nearly forced to answer and come forward in a public session", CBC reported.

"As NPR's Carrie Johnson recently reported on All Things Considered: "[Sources] are telling me Trump has been very angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation to begin with, lots of profane conversations and yelling.

"He had already recused himself and then, suddenly, he's the one apparently recommending to the president that Comey be fired and the president has ... declared it was all about the Russian investigation", Reed said.

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

"You may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you just were quiet, would clear you", Graham said on CBS.

Sessions may also be questioned Tuesday about his role in Comey's firing. Democrats are pushing for a public hearing. How is he going to defend himself against these allegations?

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Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election in early March, after it came to light that he had not disclosed two pre-election meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation hearings. He cut his teeth as a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, at the height of the drug war, and numerous policies he has tried to implement as attorney general have roots in that time period. Comey welcomed any tapes during his hearing, and congressional investigators have asked the White House to produce them if they exist.

Comey said Trump "sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk". DOJ flatly denies there was any third meeting. Sessions played a role in Comey's firing because of his leadership, not Russian Federation.

What questions Congress will want to know: Pretty much everything above. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Democratic lawmakers are skeptical that Sessions will divulge any explosive new details, especially since the attorney general could assert executive privilege regarding any questions about conversations with the president. Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury.

Leahy served up his warning on Twitter in a scathing series of tweets - all but calling Sessions a liar.

With executive privilege in play, lawmakers must be on their game, Michael Moore, a former U.S. attorney, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

JOHNSON: Yeah. The attorneys general for Washington, D.C., and Maryland tell The Washington Post they're planning to sue the president for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, that language that says the president can't accept gifts from foreign governments, though state AGs say they're in a better position to sue than some private actors because the convention centers in their states are actually losing out to Trump hotels and Trump resorts.

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