Sessions Set to Testify Tuesday

Open Hearing Scheduled After Public Protests of Initial Plan for a Closed Session

Posted by Dale Eisman on June 12, 2017


Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently will give public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee tomorrow, following a public outcry after initial reports that he would only speak at a senators-only executive session.

Common Cause was among a number of organizations that had joined in calls by Democratic senators for an open hearing.

The attorney general’s testimony could be critical to undergirding or disputing the credibility of former FBI Director James Comey, who told senators last week that President Trump pressured him to terminate at least one part of the bureau’s investigation of Russian efforts to disrupt last year’s U.S. election.

Comey testified that Trump ordered Sessions and other officials attending an Oval Office meeting to step outside so he could speak privately with the then-FBI chief. After that meeting, Comey said he appealed to Sessions to take steps that would guarantee he would not be left alone with Trump again.

Sessions also is expected to face questions about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., before the Trump administration took office in January. His involvement with Kislyak led Sessions to announce that he would not take part in any Justice Department investigation of Russia’s role in the election.

But that recusal did not keep the attorney general from recommending that Trump fire Comey, a step the president took in early May. Trump has acknowledged that his concerns about “the Russia thing” factored in Comey’s dismissal.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that Sessions has several critical questions to answer. “First, did (Sessions) interfere with the Russian investigation before he recused himself? Second, what safeguards are there now so he doesn’t interfere? Third, he says he was involved in the firing of Comey, and the president said Comey was fired because of Russia. How does that fit in with his recusal?”

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Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections, Ethics

Tags: Executive Ethics, Registration and Voting Systems

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