We'll have more on the ramifications of Sessions' testimony in the coming days. Thanks for joining us!
It’s very confusing how Sessions can simultaneously claim that he cannot reveal private conversations with the president more-or-less because of executive privilege while affirming that Trump has not exercised this privilege yet. It seems, perhaps, to be a convenient way to not have to underscore the embarrassing aspects of Trump’s amateurish approach to managing the White House.
Senator Manchin picks off a number of Trump officials and asks Sessions whether or not he has any information pertaining to whether or not the individuals in question had meetings with Russian officials during the campaign.
Sessions more or less says he doesn't have information that any of these individuals met with Russians, save Page, based on news reports.
Republican Senator Lankford of Oklahoma calls it a “rumor” that Trump was considering dismissing Special Counsel Mueller, pointing out that it would be under the authority of DOJ officials to do so. For the record, this wasn’t another rumor circulated by - as Lankford would probably put it - nefarious anti-Trump forces, but none other than Newsmax CEO and Trump confidante Christopher Ruddy.
Senator Heinrich uses his five minutes to point out the legal flaws surrounding Sessions’ persistence in refusing to answer any questions that would draw upon specific questions with the president.
These are strong words. He proceeds to remark that his silence - along with he silence of other intelligence leaders who refused to answer questions pertaining to Trump conversations - speak volumes.
Oregon Democratic Senator Wyden lays into Sessions: what are the "problematic" concerns that led the FBI to conclude that Sessions would recuse himself? He also accuses Sessions and others of stonewalling.
Sessions resents the accusations of stonewalling, and regarding of the concerns the FBI purportedly raised:
“Why don’t you tell me! There are none, senator Wyden. There are none. I can tell you this is a secret innuendo being leaked about me and I don’t appreciate it.”
Rubio drives right at the meeting after which Trump retained Comey and purportedly request that he drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.
Asked whether or not Trump asked Comey to stay, Sessions explains:
“That is a communication in the White House that I will not comment on.”
He then claims that his account has been more accurate then Comey's, though in reality he has only been leaving out key details because he refuses to remark on interactions between Trump Administration officials.
Worth noting: in his opening remarks, Sessions clearly jettisoned the idea he had a third meeting. Within an early line of questioning in today's hearing, Sessions says, essentially well, maybe it happened, but if I did it didn't matter.
FLAG: Sessions, seemingly to contradict earlier testimony, now it's "conceivable" that he had a conversation with Kislayk at the Mayflower. pic.twitter.com/ngga9GzohY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 13, 2017
With regards to the meeting after which Trump expelled others present, asking Comey to stay behind, Sessions more or less confirms the events while leaving out some of Comey’s key characterizations. He didn’t really remark on Comey’s claim that Sessions “lingered” by the door, implying a discomfort with Trump’s approach to communications with the then FBI Director. He also left out details relating to whether or not Trump asked people to leave while retaining Comey.
In explaining his choice to recuse himself, Sessions points out a rule that stipulates that one can't oversee an investigation into a political campaign for which the individual in question served as a primary advisor.
That's quite a sound rule.