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Attorney General Jeff Sessions vows to defend himself against 'false allegations'

15 June 2017

"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honour for over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie", he said.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2017. Sessions had written a letter to Trump recommending Comey's firing.

"We were there", Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee of the February 14 meeting.

"No", Sessions joked, before admitting, "Yes, I do".

He also declined to say if Trump opposed Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe in March, and whether Justice Department officials discussed possible presidential pardons of individuals being looked at in the probe.

"As did the senior intelligence officials who testified last week, Sessions wants to have it both ways", Ned Price, former senior director at the National Security Council under Barack Obama, said in an email. He later amended the record by revealing he met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, twice over the course of the 2016 campaign.

Sessions was adamant that he did not have a private meeting with Kislyak at that event. But he did allow for the possibility that he encountered him in a reception that he says was attended by a couple dozen people, though he said he had no specific recollection of that. But in a subsequent interview with NBC, Trump said that he when he made a decision to fire Comey he told himself, "This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story". That was not so, he said.

Sessions has recused himself from that investigation, even though he took a personal hand in Comey's firing, which Trump said was directly related to the Russian Federation investigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Democratic Sen.

Sessions was asked about all of this under oath Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the lead congressional committee on Russian Federation. "I hope you can let this go". There are none, Sen. Either way, when Sessions insisted that he was "not stonewalling", one had a sense that he was, in a twisted sense, right. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign", Sessions said.

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Sessions said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein prepared a memo on Comey's performance that "noted some serious problems" with his performance.

Sessions was involved in the Trump campaign since early 2016.

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. The investigation is now being led by a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Cornyn, who was briefly considered to replace Comey at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, sought to discredit Comey's testimony last week that Trump fired him over the Russian Federation probe.

Harris: Sir, I'm just asking you about ...

Slightly more than half of voters said they watched part or all of Comey's testimony. Democrats pressed Sessions repeatedly to say if he had discussed Russian Federation and Comey with Mr. Trump, but didn't get very far about those conversations between Sessions and the President. I'm not sure. I don't recall. Angus King (I-Maine), noting that Trump had not yet asserted his executive privilege on the matter.

He disputed that his involvement in Comey's firing violated the recusal. I don't even read that carefully. "And I have taken no action whatsoever with regard to any such investigation".

In a statement issued following the hearing, Sen. "Rubio, probably so", Sessions added, when Rubio asked whether any such tapes would have to be preserved.

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