Sessions to appear before Senate panel

Trump is scheduled to spend the weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster N.J

Sessions to appear before Senate panel

The attorney general said Saturday he will accept an invitation to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify at a public hearing of the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday afternoon, the committee said in a statement.

"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum", Sessions wrote.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said "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.

Former FBI Director James Comey hinted in his public hearing Thursday that Sessions, a former United States senator from Alabama, may have had additional contacts with Russians, and said in a closed hearing that investigators had received Russian intercepts detailing a possible third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, sources familiar with the briefing told CNN on Thursday.

Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.

The committee has not announced the timing of the event, or whether Sessions will speak in an open or closed hearing.

The hearing will bring sharp questioning for Sessions and likely some uncomfortable moments from the Trump administration.

It later came out in closed session questioning that Sessions had yet another meeting with Russian ambassador to the US and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak.

Sessions came off particularly badly in last Thursday's testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, leading Dan Rather to label him a "marked man".

President Donald Trump smiles during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

The announcement caps the drama that started over the weekend when Sessions canceled two appearances Tuesday, citing former Comey's blistering testimony last week.

Comey "put a dagger, if you will, right near the heart of Sessions", Rather said.

"The attorney -general was not silent; he responded to this comment by saying that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice needed to be careful about following appropriate policies regarding contacts with the White House", the statement said.

"The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter", said department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, referring to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the department's Russian Federation probe. "We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an opening setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic", Comey said. White House frustrations with the Justice Department spilled into public view last week, when Trump on Twitter criticized the legal strategy in defending his proposed travel ban.

Sessions wrote the chairmen that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein will take his place before both the House and Senate subcommittees to testify about the Justice Department's budget.

Sessions' spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, has denied that any such meeting happened.

Latest News