Jeff Sessions To Testify Tuesday Before Senate Intel Committee
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.
Sessions’ testimony will come less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey appeared before the committee and declined to say that President Donald Trump tried to interfere in the FBI’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
In a letter to Sen. Richard Shelby, Sessions explained that he would skip an appearance before a Senate subcommittee chaired by Sheldy where he was supposed to discuss the Justice Department budget to instead testify before the intelligence committee. The AG said it’s clear that, in the wake of Comey’s testimony, the Russian investigation would become the focus of questioning, according to the AP. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein will appear before Shelby’s subcommittee in his stead, Sessions said.
I previously accepted an invitation to testify on behalf of the Department of Justice before the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees about the Department’s FY18 budget, which funds the Department’s efforts in several important areas such as combatting the opioid crisis and violent crime. Some members have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, from which I have recused, and for which the Deputy Attorney General appointed a Special Counsel.
In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey’s recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum. The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information. Therefore, I am pleased to accept the invitation to appear before members of that committee on June Therefore, I am pleased to accept the invitation to appear before members of that committee on June 13th.
Accordingly, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who has operational and budget responsibilities for the Department, will appear before the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Tuesday.
I firmly believe in the mission of the Department of Justice, and I believe that appropriations hearings are an important way for both Congress and the American people to learn about the vital work that dedicated Department employees do every single day to ensure the fair administration of justice. I appreciate your commitment to our efforts.
CNN reported on Friday that Comey told members of the intelligence committee that the FBI had been investigating the possibility that there was a third undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak that allegedly took place at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel in April 2016.
Sessions recused himself in March from a federal investigation into contacts between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign after acknowledging that he had met with Kislyak twice, despite telling Senators at his confirmation hearing in January that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign.
The Justice Department has said that while Sessions was at the Mayflower, for a speech by Trump, there were no meetings or private encounters. Comey said during his testimony that the FBI had expected Sessions to recuse himself weeks before he actually did, but declined to elaborate on these claims in the open session, the New York Times noted.
It is unclear whether the upcoming intelligence committee hearing will be open or closed, according to CNN.