Sessions testifies he was never briefed on Russian interference in election

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Sessions spent more than 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included several testy exchanges with Democratic senators who accused him of obstructing their investigation.

"There is no legally binding basis for refusing to answer questions unrelated to an ongoing investigation unless the President is invoking executive privilege", William Yeomans, a 26-year veteran of the Justice Department and fellow at American University Law School, told CNN."That privilege is not absolute - it can be overcome by a sufficient interest".

Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich continued the attack, accusing Sessions of "impeding this investigation".

The Justice Department has said Sessions recused himself in March because of his involvement in Trump's campaign, but in his dramatic appearance last Thursday, Comey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew of information that would have made it "problematic" for Sessions to be involved.

Sessions maintained that he had not been briefed on the Russian Federation investigation between the time of his February swearing-in and his March 2 recusal. They also asked if he held a secret meeting with the Russian ambassador without disclosing it to investigators.

Sessions said he had conversations regarding the "general strategic concept" that the US and Russian Federation could forge a more harmonious relationship.

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She emulated the great Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten by claiming her first title of any kind on the hallowed Parisian clay courts. "But I'm optimistic that if we decide to make a real play for her, that she'll be here".

Sessions told senators Tuesday that when Comey approached him about the Oval Office meeting, "he did not tell me at that time any details about anything that was said that was improper".

CORNISH: Republican senators like Tom Cotton of Arkansas offered more sympathetic questions.

Wyden cut in, saying Sessions was "not answering the question". The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

Sessions was asked about all of this under oath Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the lead congressional committee on Russian Federation. Rather, he mentioned some mysterious Department of Justice policy that precluded him from answering such queries on the grounds that he was "protecting the president's right" to assert executive privilege at some point in the future.

In the process, he appeared to blur the definition of what executive privilege is and how it works - and how it doesn't.

Jeff Sessions raised more questions than he answered in front of the Intelligence Committee, which is why Senator Franken and his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee deserve the opportunity to question the man who lied to them. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina.

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USA intelligence agencies concluded in a report released in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to interfere in the election to help Trump in part by hacking and releasing damaging emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Sessions: "I guess I can say that I possibly had a meeting, but I still do not recall it".

The strangest disconnect of the day was among Republicans and Democrats on the intelligence committee who agree that the Russians dangerously interfered with the 2016 election and will do so in future ones, and a White House that has a weird lack of interest in what happened.

SESSIONS: No - yes, I do.

Sessions said President Trump did talk about Comey's firing and said he was upset with Comey's handling of the Russian investigation. "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller", he said. The attorney general snapped angrily: "Why don't you tell me?"

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the person who would be responsible for carrying out any such dismissal, told a different congressional panel he would not fire Mueller without good cause and he had seen no such cause.

Earlier, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

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The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights also reported that the SDF had already seized a number of positions inside the city. The assault overlaps with the final stages of the US-backed attack to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh.

Sessions took particular aim at news reports about a possible meeting he had with a Russian official during an April 2016 event at the Mayflower hotel, where Trump gave a pro-Russian speech.

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