Sessions likely to be questioned about Trump campaign dealings with Russians at House Judiciary hearing
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is appearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 14, with questions swirling about his knowledge of and participation in communication with Russians. (Reuters) November 14 at 8:00 AM
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, where he is likely to again draw sharp questions about his and other former Trump campaign aidesâ dealings with Russians leading up to the 2016 election.
In recent weeks, unsealed court documents have called into question the attorney generalâs previous testimony about his interactions with Russians, and his knowledge of othersâ interactions, when he was an official with the Trump campaign. Democrats have said they plan to ask Sessions about what they see as the discrepancies, some of which he has yet to address p ublicly.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a speech on the Senate floor Monday that he wants Sessions to come back before the Senate Judiciary Committee and answer more questions about the matter.
[At least nine people in Trumpâs orbit had contact with Russians during campaign and transition]
âIt is equally clear that the attorney general concealed his own contacts with Russian officials, and he has failed to correct the record even when given multiple opportunities to do so,â Leahy said, adding, âIt is time we hear the whole story.â
From Republicans, Sessions is likely to face inquiries on a host of matters they want investigated â" including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia.
On Monday, the attorney general sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) saying that he had directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters, then report back to him and his top deputy on whether any of them necessitated the appointment of a second special counsel.
Testimony before Congress has proved to be something of a thorn in Sessionsâs side. At his confirmation hearing to be attorney general, Sessions claimed he âdid not have communications with the Russiansâ during the campaign. When The Washington Post later revealed he had twice spoken with Russiaâs ambassador to the United States, he revised his account, saying he had no meetings with Russians âto discuss issues of the campaign.â
The Post later reported that Russiaâs ambassador to Washington told his superiors that he and Sessions discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow. And at his latest appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions seemed to shift his position again. That time, he said he conducted no âimproper discussions with Russians at any time regarding a cam paign or any other item facing this country,â though he allowed it was possible in one of his conversations âsome comment was made about what Trumpâs positions were.â
Confronted at the same hearing on whether he believed surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians, Sessions said, âI did not, and Iâm not aware of anyone else that did, and I donât believe it happened.â
That assertion is important because evidence has now emerged that lower-level Trump aides told Sessions of Russia-related dealings.
When former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, for example, he admitted that he told Trump and a group of other campaign officials, including Sessions, that he had contacts who could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President VladiÂmir Putin. A Sessions spokeswoman declined to comment on that, but a person familiar with the matter said Papadopoulosâ s suggestion âdid not leave a lasting impressionâ on Sessions.The Trump campaign and the White House have said there was no contact between anyone on their staff and Russia. This isn't true. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)
Separately, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page testified before the House Intelligence Committee recently that he told Sessions of his plans to travel to Moscow. A Sessions spokeswoman declined to comment on his testimony. Page has said that the interaction was brief and forgettable and that his trip was unconnected to his campaign work.
The hearing is the first time Sessions will testify before the House Judiciary Committee, and members are also likely to press the attorney general on all the ways he has reshaped the Justice Department in his nine months on the job. It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.Source: Google News