Cornyn focuses on Comey, Clinton emails in Sessions' Senate hearing on Russian Federation

Sessions told the senators on the committee that he was protecting the president's future right to invoke executive privilege, and that by not revealing conversations with the president, he was adhering to "long-standing policy".

Any suggestion to the contrary, he said, was "an appalling and detestable lie" and "secret innuendo".

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians.

The attorney general stepped aside from the Justice Department probe into Russian meddling in the campaign on March 2, the day after The Washington Post reported on two previously undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Sessions sternly defends record, denies any wrongdoing.

Wyden asked Sessions about his recusal from the investigation and his role in Comey's dismissal.

Kislyak has become a well-known entity in Washington politics, with his profile raised after Trump disclosed classified Israeli intelligence to him in a meeting in the Oval Office last month.

Rosenstein offered his assurances as USA news accounts quoted Republican allies of Trump suggesting that the president is considering firing Mueller, whose appointment, when it was announced, drew widespread praise from both Republicans and opposition Democrats.

Sessions said it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he participated in or was aware of any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Before Sessions could answer the question, his time with the California Senator ended.

"It's unacceptable that Sessions - the top law enforcement official in the country - can not name his legal basis for evading questions", Harris, a former Attorney General of California, said on Twitter.

There's no need to mince the words, Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday was no testimony at all.

"I am not stonewalling", he said.

"We also 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", Comey said. James Comey never heard Trump show any interest in Russian hacking after the inauguration. But Sessions said he had no recollection of that. I'm not sure I understood your question.

Sessions repeatedly refused to discuss private conversations with Trump on a wide variety of topics. "I hope you can let this go". "It's something that we both agreed to that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probably the best thing", Sessions said of his conversations with Rosenstein regarding replacing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director before Comey was sacked. As the two spoke over one another in a tense exchange, Sessions told Harris, "I'm not able to be rushed this fast". That encounter appears to have been the one at the Mayflower. The picture, which was taken by Getty Images, listed both Sessions and Kislyak in the photo caption. He also said he doesn't recall any conversations with the ambassador during a reception held ahead of Trump's speech. He said at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. He told the Senate then that he "did not have communications with the Russians".

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