Jeff Sessions denies 'false and scurrilous allegations'

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director discussed a host of issues surrounding Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, though his remarks also raised questions that may be directed at Sessions.

He says he is confident that Comey understood and would abide by the Justice Departments rules on communications with the White House about ongoing investigations. Sessions became attorney general in February but did not recuse himself from that probe until March.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday having an undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the USA and declared it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or took part in any collusion between Russian Federation and the election campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House.

Senators questioned Sessions on his encounters with Russian ambassadors, why Comey was sacked and if Russia colluded with Trump's campaign.

Earlier, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Sessions why, after recusing himself from the Russian Federation inquiry, he signed a letter last month recommending that President Trump fire Comey.

"I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower hotel", he told the panel.

At the confirmation hearing, Franken asked about a new CNN report that Russians were in constant contact with the campaign.

"I am not stonewalling", Sessions said.

Sessions, a former Republican US senator and an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, is expected to be asked to explain why he told senators in January that he had no dealings with Russian officials previous year while serving as an adviser to candidate Trump.

Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Mr Sessions' foreign contacts previous year, he has continued to be pressed for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Mr Sessions and Mr Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Mr Trump.

"But you never remember having a conversation or meeting with Ambassador Kislyak?" asked Burr.

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.

As you know, the Deputy Attorney General has appointed a special counsel to investigate matters related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

King followed up, incredulous that Sessions was not briefed on the subject. That was not so, he said.

Wyden, one of the Senate intelligence committee's most liberal members, lit into Sessions more than one hour into the hearing - prying into why Comey believed Sessions had been compromised.

"I would think, as a progressive, you would believe in hearing evidence before reaching conclusions and due process". There are none, Sen. "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. In testy exchange, AG Jeff Sessions decries "secret innuendo being leaked out there" about his recusal https://t.co/rYsOYVGAu6 pic.twitter.com/dyNdzWWgVa - ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 13, 2017 2. Comey suggested this indicated the attorney general's awareness that it was improper for Trump and Comey to meet alone together, given the spectre of the Department of Justice's investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible ties with the Trump campaign.

They also said they are grateful Mr Warmbier "will finally be with people who love him".

Here are Attorney General Jeff Sessions opening remarks during his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, told reporters on Tuesday he had heard only rumours about Mueller, but said, "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job".

Wyden then asked about whether signing the letter for Comey's firing violated his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.

The president says he is 100 percent willing to give testimony under oath and meet with Bob Mueller to dispute the testimony given by Comey. Rosenstein wrote a memo to Sessions on Comey, which was then used by the administration to justify firing the director for his handling of the Clinton case.

Sessions later said he had met with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. "I'm not sure what was in his mind specifically". Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Comey; Comey said last week that "lordy" he hopes there are.

Sessions, a close campaign adviser to Trump and the first senator to endorse him, stepped aside from the investigation in early March after acknowledging he had spoken twice in the months before the election with the Russian ambassador.

Executive privilege is a power presidents have invoked to keep certain information from other branches of government.

On Monday, in a unusual photo op, members of Trump's Cabinet lavished praise on the President, who has struggled to extricate himself from the Russian Federation cloud over his White House. "You're impeding this investigation", fumed Sen. "And I don't even read that".

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