7 takeaways from Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his involvement in the Russian Federation investigation and his role in former FBI Director James Comey's firing.

Sessions, a senior member of Trump's Cabinet and an adviser to his election campaign past year, had a series of tense exchanges with Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee during about 2-1/2 hours of testimony as they pressed him to recount discussions with the Republican president.

In his dramatic appearance before former colleagues, Sessions contradicted a contention made by Comey at a hearing before the same panel last week.

Sessions said it would be "inappropriate" for him to reveal private conversations with Trump when the president "has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer".

At the conclusion of a February 14 meeting, the sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation chief testified, Trump urged everyone but Comey to leave the Oval Office, including Sessions.

"Such interference can never be tolerated, and I encourage every effort to get to the bottom of any such allegations", he stated.

In general, as with most of the Russia-related hearings conducted by Congress, it was a tale of two parties. "There are none, Sen Wyden, there are none", Mr Sessions insisted, his voice rising.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions said.

Worse, Sessions refused to commit to tell senators more in a classified, closed-door session as Adm. Mike Rogers, the National Security Agency director, did on Monday evening.

The first real fireworks flew nearly 90 minutes into the testimony. Sen.

Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. I never learned the names of investigators. That was not so, he said.

"I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations", he said.

If Comey had information that Sessions would need to recuse himself, he said, that would have been "double reason" to talk to Boente.

"I'm not claiming executive privilege, because that's the President's power", Sessions told Sen. There are none, Sen.

"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", he added.

Sessions refused to say whether he and Trump discussed FBI Director James Comey's handling of an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the election campaign before the president fired Comey on May 9.

Sessions requested an open hearing, though it's not clear what he will and won't address in his televised testimony. A friend of the president suggested a day earlier that Trump was considering such an ouster. He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee.

"He had a case of convenient amnesia ... and he frankly found a very creative dodge that I think is problematic", said Booker.

Sessions was asked pointed questions by Harris about policies from the Department of Justice he was citing as the reason he was unable to answer certain questions during his testimony.

Sessions dodged questions about were whether he had discussed Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey's handling of the FBI's Russian Federation probe with Trump before the president fired Comey on May 9. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically".

And he avoided answering the key question raised by Comey's testimony: What did Sessions learn about the Russian Federation investigation between February 10 and March 2 that made "his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic?"

Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal.

"Because you're invoking executive privilege", Heinrich interjected.

On another hot-button issue, Sen.

The abrupt dismissal of Comey prompted Trump's critics to charge that the president was trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

Shortly after his opening, Sessions said that if he had talked with Kislyak, "It would've been certainly, I can assure you, nothing improper, if I'd had a conversation with him".

Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann, Sadie Gurman and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed.

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