Sessions calls allegations of collusion with Russian Federation appalling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday

During his opening statement, Sessions told senators: "I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, at least some of you, and I - and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion - that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie".

The dramatic congressional standoff with the nation's top law enforcement official came on the heels of last week's testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before the same committee.

Sessions did not cite executive privilege in declining to answer some questions but said he is "protecting the right of the president to assert it if he chooses".

But if questions coming into Tuesday's hearing were, "How would Sessions respond to fired FBI Director James Comey's intimation that there was something else - something classified - about Sessions to be concerned about?" or "What more do we know about President Trump's role in firing Comey or putting pressure on officials to drop the Russian Federation investigation?" there wasn't much light shed on them.

"Have you ever, in any of these fantastical situations, heard of a plotline so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?" he said. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically". A concurrent probe is also ongoing in the House.

And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Tuesday said he couldn't talk about firing Comey - because it's something Mueller might be investigating.

He may face questions about new comments on Monday by a Trump confidante who suggested that the president was considering firing Robert Mueller, a special counsel with sweeping powers whom the Justice Department appointed to lead an independent Trump-Russia probe.

"Anyone who has ever worked with Jim as far as I know, certainly speaking for myself, holds him in incredibly high esteem", said Sharon McCarthy, who worked for him at the US attorney's office.

Sessions said he recused himself from the Justice Department's current Russian Federation investigation because of a regulation that required it due to his involvement in the Trump campaign. "I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice", he said.

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"From that point, February 10th, until I announced my formal recusal on March 2nd, I was never briefed on any investigative details, did not access any information about the investigation".

"It is a high-confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community, and - and the members of this committee have - have seen the intelligence". Things got intense between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen.

"Certainly I can assure you nothing improper [happened] if I'd had a conversation with him, and it's conceivable that occurred", Sessions said (via The Week).

Whether executive privilege is invoked "depends on the scope of the questions", White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday.

Sessions testified that he never been briefed about the USA intelligence community's finding in October 2016 that Russian Federation sought to influence the outcome of the US election. "You're impeding this investigation", Heinrich said.

"It was my best judgment that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the appropriate thing to do", said Sessions, according to Rejoice Magazine.

More recently, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to block Attorney General Eric Holder from releasing documents in the Fast and Furious scandal.

"Senator, I'm not going to follow any order unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders", Rosenstein said during a hearing about President Trump's $27.7 billion fiscal 2018 budget for the Department of Justice.

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has frequently supported Trump and worked with Sessions when he was in the Senate, offered him a hand, painting a comical portrait of an alleged spy scheme. I never asked for any documentation.

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