Sessions is appearing before the committee for the first time since recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation, but will face questions from Democrats about why he still played a role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which Trump later said was motivated by the probe into Moscow's meddling the last year's election.
Throughout the beginning of his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions seemed to keep his cool as senators asked about whether he had colluded with Russian officials and whether he recalled meetings with the Russian ambassador.
"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion.is an appalling and detestable lie", Sessions said.
Senators for weeks have demanded answers from Mr Sessions, particularly about meetings he had last summer and autumn with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
But he denied an alleged third encounter with Kislyak, at an April 27, 2016 reception for Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Trump could recommend to the Justice Department that the special counsel be fired. He acknowledged being at the event and said he had conversations with those there, but did not remember any with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen. Sessions paid for his travel to the RNC with his campaign funds. Sessions says he was there for a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump and members of Sessions' staff were also in attendance.
Sessions further stated, "Relatedly, there is the assertion that I did not answer Senator Franken's (D-MN) question honestly at my confirmation hearing. colleagues, that is false". "I am confident that he will have sufficient independence", he told a Senate panel evaluating a Justice Department budget request. I was sworn in as Attorney General on Thursday, February 9th.
He may also face questions about comments by Mr Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax, who suggested Monday that the president was considering firing Mr Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to lead the FBI's Russian Federation probe.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Tuesday afternoon.
When host Stuart Varney asked odd if he thought Sessions was going to be in trouble during his Senate testimony today, unusual said no, stating, "The Democrats on the committee and beyond will accuse him of all kinds of outlandish things without any basis". "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller", he said. And what would it say if the president were to direct the firing of Mueller at any point in the course of this investigation?
"I may have had some conversations and I think I did, with the general strategic concept of the possibility of whether or not Russian Federation and the United States could get on a more harmonious relationship, " he said, calling it "tragic" that the two countries don't get along better. Recusal was a half-measure for sure-especially because Sessions appears to have been involved in the firing of James Comey, who was ... wait for it ... overseeing the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation.
Importantly, as Attorney General I have a responsibility to enforce the laws of this Nation, to protect this country from its enemies, and to ensure the fair administration of justice. He added later: "As long as I'm in this position, he's not going to be fired without good cause", which he said he would have to put in writing.
Sessions also argued that his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation did not mean that he should be barred from his oversight duties over the FBI, following claims by Democrats that he should have not played a role in Comey's firing.
He will also likely be asked if he knows of any ties between anyone in Trump's campaign who may have coordinated with the Russians, and if there is any suggestion of obstruction of justice by the president following the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn.
"I don't think that's a question for me to answer", Rosenstein responded. Are you aware of any White House tapes that exist?
Later, when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked if Rosenstein knew of any reason to fire Mueller, the deputy attorney general was curt: "No, sir".