US Attorney General to testify publicly before Congress over contacts with Russian Federation

Sen. Jeff Sessions at Confirmation Hearing

US Attorney General to testify publicly before Congress over contacts with Russian Federation

The Justice Department said Sessions looks forward to answering the committee's questions.

The attorney general was forced to recuse himself in March from the federal investigation into Russian interference in the USA election after media reports that he twice met with Kislyak during the 2016 campaign and did not disclose that to the Senate during his confirmation hearing in January. He told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign.

When CNN asked what was wrong with Sessions going before the same committee that heard Comey's testimony, Coons acknowledged that maybe that was a "good first step", but added that "the Judiciary Committee has the oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice".

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

How many meetings did you have with the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials in 2016?

Media reports last week said Sessions offered to resign because of tensions with Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

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

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Comey accused the Republican president of trying to get him to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and fired him to undermine the Russian Federation investigation.

In addition, Comey has said Sessions did not respond when he complained that he did not want to be left alone with Trump again. When Sean Spicer was asked if the president was still a Sessions fan, the White House press secretary had to duck.

There are also concerns that Sessions might have helped subvert the ongoing Russia-related investigations.

The attorney general explained in a letter to the Senate subcommittee that "In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum". If it comes down to the Justice Department having to choose who to believe, special counsel Robert Mueller or the president, who will Sessions choose? Senate Democrats have raised questions about whether the men met at an April 2016 foreign policy event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

Questions are swirling about possible additional encounters with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

Lawmakers, including Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, have asked the FBI to investigate and to determine if Sessions committed perjury when he denied having had meetings with Russians. Sessions is especially important to the case because as the attorney general, he was Comey's boss, and because Comey testified "the attorney general lingered by my chair, but the president thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me".

A third participant in that meeting, White House senior adviser and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner volunteered in March to testify before the intelligence committee.

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