Jeff Sessions said on June 13: “I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.”
He is the most senior member of the Trump administration to testify before the Senate committee.
Jeff Sessions acknowledged he met Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak twice, but suggested he could not remember whether he met the envoy at a foreign policy speech event for then-candidate Donald Trump at the Mayflower Hotel on April 27, 2016, as media have reported.
The former Alabama senator also denied media reports that he offered his resignation when Donald Trump was reportedly angered by his recusal from the FBI Russia probe, telling the panel he “will not be deterred”.
Vice-Chairman Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, pressed Jeff Sessions about his role in the sacking of James Comey.
Jeff Sessions said he never spoke to the former FBI director, who reports to the US attorney general, about his job performance before President Trump fired him in May.
However, Jeff Sessions did confirm James Comey’s assertion that he told the US attorney general that he felt uncomfortable speaking directly to President Trump in a one-on-one setting.
Several Democratic senators expressed frustration because Jeff Sessions repeatedly refused to answer questions relating to conversations he had with the president.
Similar answers were heard last week during testimony from intelligence chiefs before the same panel.
In the interview with the Fox and Friends morning TV show, Ivanka Trump has criticized “the level of viciousness” her father has been subjected to.
President Trump’s daughter said that it went far beyond what she was expecting.
Ivanka Trump said that she had been left blindsided by the ferocity of some of the attacks leveled against the president.
President Trump is under intense scrutiny in the US, including over the Russia investigations and his business ties.
His daughter said that she felt “very vindicated” by James Comey’s recent Senate testimony, in which the former FBI director spoke about the probe into alleged links between the Trump election campaign and Moscow.
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Ivanka Trump said his evidence supported her father’s insistence that he was not being personally investigated, and that James Comey had on at least one occasion supplied a leak to The New York Times.
She said that while she was “not expecting the intensity of this experience”, she realized that the business of government “isn’t supposed to be easy”.
“My father and this administration intends to be transformative, and we want to do big, bold things,” Ivanka Trump said.
“With all the noise, with all the intensity of the media coverage… ultimately, we’re really focused on why the American people elected Donald Trump as their president.”
Last week, President Trump’s son Eric told Fox News that he had “never seen hatred like this” and “morals have flown out the window”.
“They’re not even people,” he said as he described his father’s critics.
Ivanka Trump, like her husband Jared Kushner, is a special adviser to the president.
Fox News described her as “a political novice like her dad”, who had “glided past the more controversial interview topics like a seasoned vet”.
The Washington Post described it as a “largely friendly” interview, and noted that Ivanka Trump avoided answering two big questions about James Comey’s evidence and the work of her husband, “masterfully pivoting from an unfavorable subject to a better one”.
The New York Times also noted that Ivanka Trump dodged questions as to whether Jared Kushner had quarreled with other senior members of her father’s team.
Jeff Sessions announces he will appear before a Senate panel in response to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony.
The US Attorney General will appear before the Senate intelligence committee on June 13, he announced in a letter.
Jeff Sessions said the decision had been made “in light of Mr. Comey’s recent testimony”.
James Comey told the panel this week that he had asked Jeff Sessions to “prevent any future direct communication between the president and me”.
The testimony made headlines around the world, as it was the first time James Comey had publicly given his side of the apparent fall-out between himself and President Donald Trump in the run-up to his being fired in May.
In his letter on June 10, Jeff Sessions said: “It is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum.”
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Jeff Sessions had been due to appear before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees on June 6. He said in the letter deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein would attend instead.
James Comey told the Senate there were a “variety of reasons” why Jeff Sessions’ involvement in the investigation of Russia’s alleged interference would be problematic.
However, he said he was unable to speak about them in an open session of the hearing.
James Comey also told the Senate that the Trump administration’s comments about him and the FBI were “lies plain and simple”.
He said he was “confused” by the “shifting explanations” for his sacking, which came as he led an inquiry into any links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
President Trump later said he never sought to impede the inquiry, and accused James Comey of saying some things that “just weren’t true”.
The president has said he is “100%” willing to speak under oath about his conversations, denying he asked for James Comey’s loyalty or for the inquiry into former White House aide Michael Flynn to be dropped.
President Trump went on to say he was considering releasing further information about possible recordings of the conversations between himself and James Comey.
Shortly after the press conference, leaders of the House intelligence committee said they had asked the White House whether there were any such tapes.
The House panel requested that if the recordings existed, they should be submitted by June 23.
Former FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the Trump administration’s comments about him and the agency were “lies plain and simple”.
James Comey told a Senate committee they were wrong to denigrate the FBI and its leadership.
The ex-FBI chief was also “confused” by the “shifting explanations” for his sacking, which came as he led a probe into any links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
President Trump later said he never sought to impede the inquiry.
Donald Trump’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said in a statement James Comey’s testimony “finally confirmed publicly” that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe in Russian political meddling.
In his testimony, James Comey said President Trump had repeatedly told him he was doing a “great” job.
The former FBI chief also suggested he was fired to “change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted”.
He remained largely composed throughout almost three hours of testimony but became impassioned when delivering his opening remarks.
James Comey told the panel that the White House “chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI” by claiming the agency was “poorly led”.
“Those were lies, plain and simple. And I’m so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them,” James Comey continued.
“The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is and always will be independent,” he said in his opening remarks.
James Comey was leading one of several Russia investigations before President Trump fired him.
US intelligence agencies believe Moscow interfered in the US election and they are investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
However, there is no known evidence of collusion and President Donald Trump has dismissed the story as “fake news”.
On June 8, Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hit back at James Comey, saying: “I can definitively say the president is not a liar.”
During today’s testimony, James Comey emphasized that Russia’s political meddling was “not a close call”, adding: “There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever.”
When asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee whether the president tried to stop the Russia investigation, James Comey said: “Not to my understanding, no.”
He said he it was not for him to say whether Donald Trump’s actions were an obstruction of justice.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s vice chairman, pressed James Comey on why he decided to keep a record of his conversations with President Trump.
“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting” he said.
James Comey, who published his prepared remarks a day before the hearing, detailed one meeting with Donald Trump in which the president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House aide Jared Kushner to leave the Oval Office.
“I knew something was about to happen that I needed to pay very close attention to,” James Comey said.
“I remember thinking that that was a very disturbing development.”
During another meeting with Donald Trump, James Comey said the president appealed to him to “let go” an investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to the Kremlin.
After media reported the conversation, the president warned James Comey in a tweet, saying he “better hope there are no <<tapes>> of our conversations”.
James Comey told the committee he hoped there were tapes, calling on President Trump to release them.
“The president surely knows whether he taped me, and if he did my feelings aren’t hurt. Release all the tapes, I’m good with it,” he said.
The White House has refused to say whether any such tapes exist.
After President Trump’s tweet about potential tapes, James Comey said he realized it was important to release his own account of the story.
James Comey revealed that he asked a “good friend of mine” who is a professor at Columbia Law School to share contents of the memo with a reporter, in order to build pressure for a special counsel.
As a result of this episode, former FBI chief Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to lead an independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia.
James Comey said he was “sure” Robert Mueller was also looking at whether President Trump obstructed justice.
Donald Trump attacked James Comey for leaking the documents, saying it showed that members of the US government are “actively attempting to undermine this administration”.
Former FBI chief James Comey will testify before Congress on June 8.
James Comey is expected to say that President Donald Trump wanted a “patronage relationship” and asked for his “loyalty”.
According to his opening statement, James Comey will also testify the president asked him to drop an inquiry into fired National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
The former FBI chief says President Trump called the Russian probe “a cloud” over him.
James Comey also says he had told Donald Trump three times he was not under scrutiny, confirming the president’s account.
Reacting to the prepared testimony on June 7, President Trump’s private legal counsel on the Russia inquiry, Marc Kasowitz, said the president was “pleased” James Comey had confirmed he was not in investigators’ crosshairs.
“The president feels completely and totally vindicated,” Donald Trump’s lawyer said.
Two national security officials, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, earlier testified to senators that they never felt pressured by the White House to do anything illegal.
However in today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, James Comey will detail how President Trump made him uncomfortable during a series of encounters leading up to the FBI director’s firing on May 9.
It is one of several congressional panels that, along with the Justice Department, is investigating US intelligence assessments that Russian hackers meddled in last November’s presidential election in an effort to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
The inquiries are also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
According to seven pages of prepared testimony, James Comey will say his first meeting with President Trump occurred on January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower, where Comey briefed him alone on “salacious and unverified” allegations about him.
Image source Wikipedia
A dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official had claimed the Russian security services possessed compromising material on Donald Trump, including that he had been recorded consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.
James Comey’s says the president “expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them” during a subsequent meeting.
That denial came in a one-to-one dinner on January 27 at the White House, James Comey will say, adding that he had a “very awkward conversation” with the president that evening.
Donald Trump asked the FBI director during the discussion in the Green Room whether he wanted to stay in his job, James Comey will testify.
He will say he found this “strange” because President Trump had already told him twice in earlier conversations that he hoped he would not step down.
James Comey will testify the question “concerned me greatly” because he felt the dinner was an effort to “create some sort of patronage relationship”.
The former FBI director will say: “A few moments later, the president said, <<I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.>>
“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.”
In testimony, James Comey will detail his next encounter with President Trump, during a meeting attended by intelligence chiefs at the White House on February 14.
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