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Attorney General Sessions next up for Capitol Hill scrutiny

14 June 2017

A day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would testify this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic senators on Sunday urged the panel to question him about the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation in a public hearing, rather than behind closed doors.

"He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him", said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, an intelligence committee member, said senators were still deciding whether Sessions would be asked to testify in a classified briefing after the public hearing.

Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the committee to address matters that Comey brought up last week in testimony to the same panel. The White House has denied any collusion with Moscow.

Sessions faces questions about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the presidential campaign.

JOHNSON: Well, the Justice Department says Jeff Sessions was not silent when Comey complained about Trump calling. As mentioned above, since Attorney General Sessions is not testifying at hearings on the Justice Department budget, he'll be replaced by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein - who appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for the Russian Federation probe.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer is declining to say whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions should invoke executive privilege in testimony to Congress Tuesday.

"You need to testify before both in public", Mr. Leahy said in a tweet.

Comey's dramatic testimony drew invective from his former boss on Twitter, with Trump dismissing him as a leaker on Friday and a coward on Sunday.

In addition to the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's role in USA politics, special counsel Robert Mueller is leading an independent inquiry into Russia's meddling and potential links between Russians and the Trump campaign, after being appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last month.

Comey seemed to suggest during his testimony that Sessions had an undisclosed Russian Federation issue that would have led to his eventual recusal from the investigation.

Members of the committee are likely to ask Sessions about a possible third undisclosed meeting that is now under investigation, according to media reports. The attorney general is expected to be questioned over his meetings with a top Russian official prior to assuming his current post.

And asked for the facts about Sessions and Russia, democratic senators have told NPR that seems to be a reference to a possible third meeting Sessions had with the Russian ambassador past year that was undisclosed.

Comey said Thursday that he began documenting his conversations with the president because he had a "gut feeling" Trump might lie about the nature of those meetings.

Comey also admitted that he had asked a "good friend" and confidante, Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, to leak a private memo of his conversations with Trump to the press after a previous tweet by the president.