Sessions to face sharp questions on Trump, Russia, Comey


While North Korea's move to free Warmbier could potentially provide an opening for talks on security issues, the prospects still appear bleak.

Rosenstein said that if the president ordered him to fire the special counsel handling the Russian Federation investigation, he would only comply if the request was "lawful and appropriate".

Sessions will be testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the same body that questioned fired FBI Director James Comey last week.

Sessions recommended the firing last month, raising questions about whether he violated his recusal from the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation.

His testimony marked the latest chapter in a saga that has dogged the Republican Trump's first five months as president and distracted from his domestic policy agenda including major healthcare and tax cut initiatives.

Then, perhaps unintentionally, Sessions referred to a possible third meeting between himself and the Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, which Comey had reportedly told senators about in a closed hearing.

His failure to disclose meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak forced him to later amend his testimony and added fuel to the Russia intrigue swirling around Washington. While Democrats complained about a lack of answers, Republicans countered that the Sessions hearing showed a lack of evidence that tied the Trump Campaign to anything nefarious involving Russian Federation. "I knew that director Comey, long-time experienced in the Department of Justice, could handle himself well".

"The people of this country expect an honest and transparent government and that is what we are giving them", Sessions said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday he had confidence in Mueller, and dismissed reports that Trump might fire Mueller as "rumors".

The attorney general will also face questions about whether he met Kislyak on a third occasion.

"The Attorney General has requested that this hearing be public", Justice Department spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said. Congressional leaders would do this by agreeing not to renew a current federal law, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from interfering with medical-marijuana decisions made at the state level. Republicans trumpet no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Trump confident Christopher Ruddy, CEO of conservative Newsmax Media, told PBS Newshour on Monday that he thought Trump "was considering perhaps terminating the special counsel", a decision that would require formal action by Rosenstein.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation on March 2, two weeks after Comey's Oval Office one-on-one with Trump.

The U.S. announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang. Or does his appearance represent a White House-orchestrated counterattack following the damaging Comey testimony?

Democrats balked that penalties on Iran should not take precedent over Russian Federation for its annexation of Ukraine, attacks in Syria and interference in the USA election.

Sessions told Trump he was "honored" to be able to serve him.

Sessions said he had confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller, but said that his recusal from the Russian Federation probe would stop him taking part in any hypothetical effort to remove him.

Sessions, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, wrote a letter to Trump on May 9 recommending he fire Comey.

The high stakes of Tuesday's hearing prompted speculation that Sessions would protect his private conversations with Trump by declaring executive privilege.

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.

Rosenstein, who has been on the job for six weeks, said only he could fire Mueller, and only if he found good cause to do so.

"Gen. Sessions, respectfully you're not answering the question", Wyden said.

"I have no knowledge about this investigation as it is ongoing today beyond what has been publicly reported", said Sessions.

"I don't think that's a question for me to answer", Rosenstein responded. "I will defend the integrity of that investigation".

Warren, like many other Democratic Senators, has been outspoken about the continued corruption in the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Warmbier's release on Tuesday morning, but did not discuss the student's medical condition.