Recently fired FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he had seen evidence suggesting Sessions may have had a third meeting with Kislyak. "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice". "He does not acknowledge the unanimous conclusions of the US intelligence community that Russian Federation massively intervened in our election".
Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina laid out questions that he wanted addressed, including Sessions' meetings with Russian officials or proxies while working for the Trump campaign or as Attorney General. But his former Democratic colleagues pressed him repeatedly on his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.
Sessions is the highest-ranking official to be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russian hackers and the Trump presidential campaign. But he denied reports that he had a third, previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016. "Though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian Ambassador or any other Russian officials", he explained.
Sessions said he was, indeed, "one of the last ones" to leave the White House after a meeting on February 14.
Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, started tweeting shortly after Sessions' opening statements Tuesday afternoon. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty". Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the United States, according to people familiar with the briefing. "This President wants to focus on the people of this country to ensure they are treated fairly and kept safe", said Sessions.
As late as Sunday, the Justice Department signaled it expected Sessions' testimony to be closed, but the final decision was up to the committee - with the Justice Department ultimately agreeing to a public hearing. "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".
Sessions said he agreed with a letter drafted by his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, that Comey should be replaced.
The Sessions session before the Senate Intelligence Committee comes just six days after Comey's appearance.
However, Sessions refused to say whether he ever spoke with Trump about firing Comey.