Fresh questions for US Attorney General -- and he'll answer in public

AG Sessions to testify Tuesday at Senate intelligence panel

On March 1, The Washington Post reported that he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. Sessions will likely face tough questions at the open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing over his dealings with Russian officials during the campaign and whether he had a role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.Until a statement on Monday from committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, it had been unclear whether Sessions would testify in an open or closed setting.Initially, Sessions expected to testify in a closed-door session, said two sources familiar with the attorney general's thinking. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow".

To return to my opening question with another rhetorical question, is it even possible to be too cynical about anything in Donald Trump's orbit?

Trump has denied he tried to interfere with the probe.In his testimony, Comey said he had asked Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump following meetings where he said Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty.

One aspect of the Comey hearing that was overwhelmed by the newsworthiness of his comments was his refusal to speak to the nature of Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation in an open hearing.

Sessions initially was scheduled to appear at a hearing about the Justice Department's budget on Tuesday morning. Was he aware the president had chose to fire Comey before seeing that memo - and did he ask the DOJ to prepare that memo for him?

"There are many unanswered and troubling questions, so the attorney general needs to be forthcoming", said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Senators on that committee are expected to question Sessions about his meetings with Russians - a topic that has come under increased scrutiny amid investigations into Russian meddling in the USA presidential election.

Judge Randolph Moss' order came the day before Sessions is due to testify in public before the Senate intelligence committee.

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The tycoon was arrested by the Scotland Yard on April 19 on an extradition warrant but was granted bail within a few hours. Not just that, but his presence compels the Indian team to leave early so that they don't run into him at the function.

The attorney general is also expected to push back on the notion that he committed perjury when he denied having had any communications with Russians during the presidential campaign a year ago, the source said.

Sessions will be testifying before Congress for the first time since he was confirmed as attorney general in February.

"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. That prompted at least some members of the committee to push for a closed hearing, or at least some allotted time to meet with Sessions privately after the public forum, aides said.

Comey described the Oval Office meeting, before his one-on-one with Trump, as "a scheduled counterterrorism briefing".

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he "did not have communications with the Russians" during the campaign. Trump has denied that he said that. I told the AG that what had just happened - him being asked to leave while the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, who reports to the AG, remained behind - was inappropriate and should never happen. While Sessions used to frequently answer questions from reporters after public appearances discussing his criminal justice initiatives, he stopped in late April, just before Comey was dismissed.

"I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel".

A White House official downplayed Ruddy's comments, saying "Chris speaks for himself". Trump's personal lawyer also challenged Comey's account, saying the president never asked for the investigation to be dropped.

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