After former FBI director James Comey made headlines with his testimony this week, the spotlight is now on Jeff Sessions. The attorney general said Saturday he will accept an invitation to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
“In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey’s recent testimony,” the attorney general wrote in a letter Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on justice, “it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in (the Senate Intelligence Committee, which) has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information.”
Sessions’ testimony is expected to occur Tuesday in a closed meeting and to focus on the moments leading up to the private Feb. 14 conversation where, according to Comey, President Trump pressed the then-FBI director to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey has testified that he thought it was improper for his then-boss Sessions to have been excluded from that meeting, and he has said that he did not want to be alone with the president again to avoid the appearance of undue influence. Comey also testified that he wrote memos detailing that meeting and others with Trump because he was concerned that the president “might lie about the nature of our meeting,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
“We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make (Sessions’) continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,’’ Comey added. (Those undisclosed “facts” may have to do with a possible third meeting Sessions had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after Sessions belatedly disclosed two other meetings with Kislyak.)
Though contact between the White House and the FBI has long been routed through the attorney general or deputy attorney general, Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference with last year’s election after failing to disclose meetings with Kislyak during his January confirmation hearing.
Sessions had previously been scheduled to testify before the Senate and House Appropriations subcommittees Tuesday, but now that he’s appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein will testify before those panels instead.
SOURCE: Carly Mallenbaum