"I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower hotel", he told the panel.
Members of the Senate intelligence committee expressed confusion over why Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not disclose his conversations with the president. It later was revealed he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, once as a senator and once as Trump's adviser before the inauguration. Certainly nothing improper occurred.
Interest in the Mayflower Hotel event was rekindled when Comey raised it Thursday in a closed hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, GAT sources told NBC News.
Throughout the questioning, Sessions defended himself and refused to discuss any details of conversations he's had with President Trump. Mark Warner of Virginia said that in addition to Burr's questions, he wanted to know why Sessions participated in the firing of Comey which he said was over the handling of the Russian Federation probe.
Though he's the deputy attorney general, Rosenstein would have the authority to fire Mueller since Sessions recused himself in March from any probes related to campaigns for president, like the Russian Federation investigation.
During Attorney General Jeff Sessions' opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he addressed the concern that he had previously testified that he had no meetings with any Russians. Sessions said no. "What would you have done?"
In a furious exchange with Sen.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told Sessions, "I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling". Rosenstein responded: "No I have not". There are none, Sen.
"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it", he added.
He bristled at Wyden and told the OR senator that people are suggesting through innuendo that he has not been honest.
Mr Comey had also said that Mr Sessions had lingered in the Oval Office following a group meeting, just before the private encounter during which he has said the president asked him to pull back on his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The president has denied asking Comey to drop the Flynn matter.
"We asked them relevant questions and they basically said "We don't feel like answering" and that's not going to be acceptable (with Sessions)", said Wyden. Following a routine morning threat briefing, Mr. Comey spoke to me and my Chief of Staff.
If he does so, it will amount to an "all in" moment for the attorney general, because he already once had to clarify sworn testimony in which he said he didn't meet with Russians during the campaign.
"I responded to his comment by agreeing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House", said Sessions.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.
He is expected to get questions from lawmakers about how the Justice Department's $27.7 billion budget request reflects Sessions's shifting priorities towards cracking down on illegal immigration and violent crime, with millions of additional dollars going towards prosecuting more drug and gun cases (and pursuing mandatory minimum sentences) and increasing the number of immigration judges and lawyers working on border security. A friend of the president suggested a day earlier that Trump was considering such an ouster.
Sessions was the first GOP senator to endorse Trump.
The strongest answers might come from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"If President Trump ordered you to fire Special Counsel Mueller, what would you do?" asked Sen.
Asked by Senate Intelligence Committee members how he interpreted that statement, which Trump denies, Comey said he took it as "direction" on what he should do.
"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", he said, stressing this was not the case. "If there were not good cause it wouldn't matter what anyone said". Sessions reportedly offered his resignation, telling Trump that he needed the freedom to do his job. Sessions also would not say anything about any conversations he had with Trump regarding the Russian Federation investigation.
Then, Sessions paused a second, before dialing up his response.