Tom Cotton Grills Jeff Sessions On Spy Novels

Tom Cotton during his Senate intelligence committee hearing Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions demonstrated a surprising knowledge of espionage thrillers. To his boss? To his former Senate colleagues?

Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice Russia investigation in March, but then signed a letter endorsing Comey's firing in May. "This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it".

Spicer, the spokesman, declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet". The Oregon Democrat was questioning Sessions about why he could sign the letter recommending the firing of Comey if it violated his recusal. Senators of both parties were frustrated by evasive answers they received last week from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and other intelligence officials.

Sessions raised his voice in protest when asked what those reasons were.

As a longtime senator from Alabama, Sessions will be granted some degree of deference, at least from Republicans. Days after that, Sessions also corrected his confirmation hearing testimony to inform the committee about his two meetings with Kislyak. Some say he perjured himself.

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Sessions said it would be "absurd" to suggest that a recusal from a single investigation would render him unable to manage the leadership of the FBI.

Ahead of the hearing there had been suggestions that Sessions might have had a third, unreported, encounter with Kislyak, at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016, where candidate Trump was giving his first major foreign policy speech. He was being asked about Comey's testimony. The former FBI Director said that, until mid-February, he chose not to approach Sessions about Trump's repeated approaches to him about the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

While he had recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, Mr Sessions said: "I did not recuse myself from defending my honour against scurrilous and false allegations".

Sessions is now the only Trump official on the record, under oath, countering Comey's testimony last week under oath.

Sessions refused to say whether he had ever discussed the Russian Federation investigation with Trump, arguing that he could not disclose private communications with the president. But Trump undercut that version May 11, telling NBC News that the firing was in response to Comey's handling of the Russian Federation investigation.

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Mr Trump added he would be happy to testify under oath in front of special prosecutor Robert Mueller . Secret Service says it has no recordings of any conversations in President Trump's White House .

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said Sessions' "silence speaks volumes". Sheldon Whitehouse, the top Democrat on a subcommittee of the Judiciary panel, said: "As someone who served in the Department of Justice, I would love to know what he is talking about". The committee can also work with the Trump administration to come up with a solution. Sessions had essentially been refusing to assert executive privilege-which could be challenged in court and knocked down-citing a "longstanding DOJ policy" for his decision.

He also has vented frustration to aides on Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, a decision that led to Rosenstein's appointment of a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director. 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.

Testifying at a packed Senate hearing, Sessions, who was a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, also rejected any idea of misconduct in the ouster of FBI Director James Comey and vowed to defend his honor "against scurrilous and false allegations".

"I know how this will be discussed, but that's the rule that's been long adhered to by Department of Justice, as you know, Sen". Susan Collins, R-Maine.

"Actually, I do not", the Attorney General said.

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