U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress Saturday he will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in last year's presidential election.
In a letter to Senator Richard Shelby on Saturday, Sessions has written that his decision to appear comes in light of last week's testimony by fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
The attorney general, the highest-ranking law-enforcement officer in the nation, said he would testify before the Senate committee Tuesday, presumably under oath.
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts a year ago, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.
Sessions said his decision to accept the intelligence committee's invitation to appear was due in part to Comey's testimony.
Sessions was scheduled to appear before the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees that day, but said in the letter that some members had publicly stated their intentions to question him about issues related to the Russian Federation investigation. If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain?
On Wednesday, written testimony by Comey about his alleged interactions with President Donald Trump was released in which the ex-director noted that he asked Sessions "prevent any future direct communication" between Trump and himself after the two shared a private dinner on January 27 and a one-on-one Oval Office meeting on February 14 that Comey found to be "inappropriate". Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, and Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said on Fox News Sunday "there's a real question of the propriety" of Sessions' involvement in Comey's dismissal, because Sessions had stepped aside from the federal investigation into contacts between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
He said during his confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. But federal investigators have not confirmed the meeting happened, and the Justice Department has denied it occurred.
Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein will take his place at the appropriations hearing, he said.
"I urge that the Committee hold a hearing with the Attorney General in the open so that the American people can hear for themselves what he has to say with regard to connections to the Russians and the President's abuse of power", wrote Sen.