Politics ESSENTIAL WASHINGTON

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington

Sessions hearing

9 key moments from Jeff Sessions' testimony

 (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Less than a week after former FBI Director James B. Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the spotlight turned to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and his role in Comey's firing, the Russia investigation and other issues.

Here are key moments:

Sessions does not remember meeting any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel

Sessions, who has acknowledged two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, said he had no recollection of meeting with him a third time during a conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

He did not rule out such a meeting, but repeatedly said he did not recall it.

"It's conceivable that it occurred. I just don’t remember it," he said.

Session is emphatic that he did not collude with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election

Sessions said any suggestion to the contrary was "a detestable and appalling lie."

Sessions implies that he was recused from the Russia investigation from Day 1 on the job. 

From his first day in office, Sessions said he did not receive any information about the Russia investigation.

Sessions' reasons for firing Comey differ from Trump's

Sessions said he had issues with Comey's performance as FBI director, including his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. Sessions said he thought the FBI needed a "fresh start" under a new leader. Trump, however, told a TV interviewer that the Russian investigation was on his mind when he fired Comey.

Sessions confirms that he was not in the Oval Office when Comey had a private meeting with Trump 

Sessions' account matches Comey's. Both said Trump asked Sessions and other officials to leave the room before he closed the door to meet privately with Comey. Comey has testified that Trump then asked him to drop a criminal investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Sessions confirms that he and Comey met after the Oval Office discussion and that Comey expressed concern about private meetings with Trump 

Comey said he asked the attorney general to try to prevent future one-on-one meetings with Trump but that Sessions did not respond. Sessions confirned that Comey "expressed concern" about the private conversation, but said "I did respond." He conceded, however, that he might not have addressed "everything he asked." Both men agreed that Comey did not tell Sessions about the subject of his conversation with Trump, which Comey testified was the president's request that he drop the FBI investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. 

Sessions insists that his letter to Trump recommending that Comey be fired did not conflict with his recusal

During one of the testier exchanges of Tuesday's hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democratic, pressed Sessions on why he signed the letter, since he had earlier recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation.

""It did not violate my recusal," Sessions said.

"That does not pass the smell test," Wyden responded.

Sessions refuses to answer questions about his conversations with Trump about the Russia investigation

The attorney general said he couldn't divulge his private conversations with Trump. "I am not stonewalling. I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice," he said. Under questioning by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, Sessions declined to specify what those precise policies are, but said the "principle" is to protect presidential confidentiality. He said the White House has not specifically invoked executive privilege to shield his conversations with Trump.

Sessions has confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller III

Amid reports that Trump is thinking of firing the special counsel who is leading the Russia investigation, Sessions was asked whether he had confidence in his abilities.

“I have confidence in Mr. Mueller, but I am not going to discuss any hypotheticals," he said.

 

Latest updates

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
81°