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(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes a turn onstage at a televised hearing gives a House member an opportunity to ask questions; sometimes it’s just an opportunity to deliver a monologue.

For Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), question time on Tuesday turned into a chance to deliver a screed against Hillary Clinton and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, an effort that has already ensnared Trump campaign officials.

President Trump has been angered by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from involvement in the investigation. Franks had a suggestion: Force Mueller to recuse himself.


Sometimes a friendly face can offer a welcome respite from a contentious House hearing, as Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions can now attest.

Rep. Martha Roby, a Republican from Alabama, opened her 5 minutes of House Judiciary Committee questioning by lauding Sessions' four terms of service in the Senate and his earlier work as a prosecutor.

"Have you ever worked with Russia to influence an election?" she asked.


Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions insisted Tuesday that he omitted mention of meetings with the then-Russian ambassador when he filled out security forms because he had been advised that senators need not list official meetings.

Sessions said he was told by his executive assistant that, given the volume of meetings senators take part in, “we were not required to list” them on forms that asked for any communication with foreign officials.

The attorney general said he thought that approach “was reasonable.”

(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Conservative opponents of the Obama administration have had a field day with reports that former Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, her predecessor Eric H. Holder Jr. and others used email pseudonyms when they were serving in government.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions undermined that talking point by letting loose an inside secret during his appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee:

Everyone does it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol. (Associated Press)

Senate Republicans will add a partial Obamacare repeal to their tax plan, using the revenues gained to further lower tax rates for the middle class.

Republicans announced the decision Tuesday after their policy lunch, saying they had widespread support among the Senate GOP for the proposal. A revised bill, which would do away with the Affordable Care Act's mandate that all Americans carry insurance, was expected to be released later Tuesday.

"We're optimistic," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

Atty. Gen.  Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that he did nothing wrong when he did not respond to an announcement by Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide, that he planned to go to Russia during the heart of the 2016 campaign.

Questioned by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), about meetings with campaign advisors Page and George Papadopoulos, Sessions acknowledged that Page told him about his travel plans after a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club.

“I made no response,” Sessions said. “What does that mean? I don’t think it means I’ve done anything dishonest.”

U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions angrily denounced accusations that he had intentionally misled members of Congress about any Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

"Mr. Jeffries, nobody, not you or anyone else, should be prosecuted ... nor accused of perjury for answering the questions the way I did in that hearing," Sessions said after Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, reminded him that he had once bragged of prosecuting a police officer for making false statements that he later corrected.

Sessions said that when former Trump campaign aide Carter Page mentioned that he was traveling to Russia, "I made no response to it."

While Russia has garnered most of the attention in Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, Democrats also have questioned the Justice Department's treatment of African Americans.

When Democrats repeatedly raised questions about voter identification laws, which critics argue disenfranchise black and Latino voters, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions defended the use of such laws as appropriate.

He also defended the department's record in prosecuting drug sellers. Democrats, and some Republicans, have long argued that prosecutors have been far tougher on African Americans accused in drug crimes than white Americans.

(EPA / Shutterstock)

Democrats asking questions of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions during the House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday often used their five minutes of time to raise the specter of President Trump interfering in the special counsel's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida repeatedly asked Sessions whether Trump had the power to pardon any of those allegedly involved in Russia's meddling in the election. He cited as possible beneficiaries both former aides and family members, including Donald Trump Jr.

After repeatedly saying he "was not able to express an opinion," Sessions eventually said that Trump did have the option of pardoning.

Rep. Jim Jordan tells Atty. General Jeff Sessions it "looks like" there's enough evidence to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.

"'Looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," Sessions replied.

An hour and a half into the House Judiciary Committee hearing with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions it became very clear that not only Democrats were irked at him.

In an angry series of questions, Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, demanded to know why the Justice Department has not named a special prosecutor to investigate actions by Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

"What's it going to take to get a special counsel?" Jordan asked repeatedly. He cited leaks about a dossier gathered by a former British intelligence officer and paid for in part by Democrats and the FBI.