Sessions tells lawmakers he will not discuss his conversations with Trump
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled that he would rebuff inquiries from lawmakers about his conversations with President Trump — a move that is surely to frustrate Democrats who have vowed to press the attorney general on the matter.
Democrats had warned Sessions they expect him to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, especially as they might relate to the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and the ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential race.
But in his opening remarks, Sessions said he wouldn’t, nor would he honor Democrats’ request that he detail the particular topics on which Trump would assert executive privilege and block his testimony.
“I can neither assert executive privilege, nor can I disclose today the content of my confidential conversations with the president,” Sessions said.
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I am not "someone upthread".
Trump needs to be smashed into some kind of inedible orange pâté.
Trump needs to be smashed into some kind of inedible orange pâté.
Cruz - And what a suck up to the Elf.
Very heated exchange between Senator Franken and Sessions.
Very heated exchange between Senator Franken and Sessions.
I think we'll be seeing, and maybe hearing from Senator Franken, more about this exchange today. I am only loosely watching it because I have to hit the mute when the repubs come on and I'm busy with something else, but good on Al!
And Jeff Sessions is a liar!
And Jeff Sessions is a liar!
I got no republicans in the office today, but there's still work that takes me away from listening to all. I will wait for WAPO to fact check and give him his Pinocchio rating.AndyinPA wrote: ↑Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:59 pmI think we'll be seeing, and maybe hearing from Senator Franken, more about this exchange today. I am only loosely watching it because I have to hit the mute when the repubs come on and I'm busy with something else, but good on Al!
And Jeff Sessions is a liar!
In recess for now, but not sure if the Elf is coming back for more. There was some mention of some briefing or something that only the two co-chairs had and that they had request the FBI to make available to all members of the committee. Would like to know what that's all about.
ABC News - live feed
Adding:Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has not been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators.
Mueller has been investigating potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Sessions recused himself from the investigation in March, before Mueller was appointed, but he is seen as a possible witness because of his involvement in the May firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asked Sessions if he had been interviewed. Sessions at first told Leahy that he would have to ask Mueller that question, but then later answered the question by saying no.
Sessions: I have not been interviewed by special counsel Mueller
Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Jeff Sessions directly if he was part of special counsel Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.
Here was his question to Sessions: "Were you requested, have you been interviewed or have you been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel either in connection with Director Comey's firing, the Russia investigation, or your own contact with Russian officials."
At first, Sessions told Leahy, "You'll have to ask the special counsel." To which the senator replied, "No, I'm asking you."
Sessions asked Leahy to repeat the question, which he did. Sessions paused and said, "Well I'd pleased to answer that. Um, I'm not sure I should without clearing that with the special counsel. What do you think?"
"I'm just saying, have you been interviewed by them?" Leahy asked again.
"No," Sessions replied.
"In any way shape or matter?" Leahy pressed.
"The answer is no," Sessions said.
Franken meticulously dismantled Sessions’ shifting story on Russia. Then Sessions made things worse. ...
The exchange came after Franken asked Sessions to explain the shifting statements he’s made since he told senators he “did not have communications with the Russians” during his conformation hearing in January. Less than two months later, Justice Department officials told the Washington Post that Sessions hadn’t told the truth — he had in fact met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice during the campaign. That led to Sessions refusing himself from overseeing the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia.
In response to the Post’s reporting, Sessions acknowledged that the meetings occurred, but denied discussing anything of a political nature with Kislyak. But as the Wall Street Journal reported, one of Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak happened at the 2016 Republican National Convention — an event Sessions traveled to and from using campaign funds. What’s more, a person who was at the RNC told the Journal that Sessions and Kislyak discussed the Trump campaign. ...
“First it was, ‘I did not have communications with Russians,’ which was not true,” Franken told Sessions. “Then it was, ‘I never met with any Russians to discuss any political campaign,’ which may or may not be true. Now it’s, ‘I did not discuss interference in the campaign,’ which further narrows your initial blanket denial about meetings with the Russians.”
“Since you have qualified your denial to say that you did not, quote, discuss issues of the campaign with the Russians, what in your view constitutes ‘issues of the campaign?'” asked Franken.
Sessions didn’t answer. Instead, he asserted he “conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding a campaign or any other item facing this country,” and made a show of getting indignant about Franken’s line of questioning.
Trump personally interviewed U.S. attorney candidates
President Donald Trump has personally interviewed at least two potential candidates for U.S. attorney positions in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter — a move that critics say raises questions about whether they can be sufficiently independent from the president. ...
It is rare for a president to interview candidates for the 93 U.S. attorney jobs. Former President Barack Obama never interviewed a U.S. attorney candidate during his two terms, according to Matthew Miller, who served as Justice Department spokesman under the Obama administration.
But documents submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year showed Trump met with Jessie Liu, the candidate for U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, earlier this spring as she was being interviewed for the federal prosecutor post.
Liu has since been confirmed, but not without questions from Democrats. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein raised concerns that she had personally met with Trump before she was nominated to the position that would be in charge of investigating the Trump administration.
"To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview Thursday. “For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference."
Blumenthal asserted during an oversight hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week that Trump had interviewed candidates in New York, although he did not go into details. During the hearing, the Connecticut senator noted that it would be “quite unusual” for the president to get involved.
Republicans seek special counsel's removal from Russia probe
Representatives Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs and Louis Gohmert accused Mueller of a conflict of interest because he was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation when former President Barack Obama’s administration approved an agreement allowing a Russian company to buy a Canadian company that owned 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies.
President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans have been calling for an investigation into the Uranium One deal, amid news of Mueller’s first indictments of Trump associates as the special counsel investigates allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. ...
Democrats have dismissed the Republicans’ activities as a partisan effort to distract from Mueller’s probe and from efforts to ensure that a foreign government, Moscow, does not influence future U.S. elections.
Gaetz, Biggs and Gohmert are all members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the FBI and Department of Justice.
Gaetz has called for investigations of issues related to Clinton previously, including accusing former FBI Director James Comey of colluding with Mueller on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s emails.
Adding:Republican Sen. Bob Corker blasts Trump for pressuring DOJ
Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Bob Corker continued his criticism of President Donald Trump on Friday, saying Trump is pressuring the Justice Department to "pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place."
"Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference," Corker said in a statement Friday afternoon. "President Trump's pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people's confidence in our institutions."
It is the third time in recent weeks Corker has been highly critical of the President. The Tennessee Republican announced in September that he's not running for re-election.
Trump has repeatedly in the past 24 hours criticized the Justice Department, including in a radio interview where the President described himself as "unhappy" with the department. On Friday morning, Trump told reporters that Justice should be investigating Democrats.
Politico: Trump's push for inquiries challenges Justice Dept. independence
FBI turns over new Clinton investigation documents to Congress
The FBI has begun turning over to Senate investigators hundreds of pages of memos regarding the bureau's probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server, sources told The Hill.
The sources said the Justice Department notified the Senate Judiciary Committee late Friday and the FBI began transmitting memos soon after to assist Congress in its review of former Director James Comey's handling of the Clinton email case.
The memos detail how and when the bureau's leadership declined to pursue criminal charges against Clinton for transmitting classified information on her private email server as secretary of State, an investigation that has remained controversial since the 2016 presidential campaigns.
FBI officials declined to comment. "We don't have any information for you," spokeswoman Carol Cratty told The Hill.
The Senate committee has been seeking the memos for some time as it investigates whether Comey chose to absolve Clinton of criminal liability before the election-year probe was complete and before she was even interviewed. Comey ultimately concluded that while Clinton' handling of classified emails was careless, there was not enough evidence of intent to warrant criminal charges.
I am very concerned about the way Trump is making a public issue of his desire to see Hillary prosecuted and imprisoned, esp as a distraction to the Mueller indictments. After all, Trump never made this pipe dream a secret, going back to the Convention's "Lock Her Up" frenzy, but his current public tirades of "I told the Justice Dept to prosecute her and they're not doing the job" sounds to me like he is actually trolling for an assassin -- not an exaggeration, he is literally telling all the gunslingers in the TV audience in a dog whistle "legal means are ineffective, but whoever metes out justice to Hillary can be assured of a pardon or better from me".
I'm not kidding.
I'm not kidding.
Adding:C-Span: House Judiciary Committee: November 14, 2017, Attorney General Sessions Testimony at Oversight Hearing
Adding:Judiciary chairman hints at dissatisfaction with Sessions
Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) zeroed in on his demands for a second special counsel in the first five minutes of a hotly-anticipated oversight hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday morning.
"I have chosen, as chairman of this committee, to let special counsel Robert Mueller do his job, free from undue political influence," he said in his opening statement. "At the same time, however, this Committee will do its duty and conduct oversight of DOJ."
Hinting at dissatisfaction with Sessions, Goodlatte referenced a pair of requests that the Justice Department name a second special counsel to investigate the Obama Justice Department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Numerous matters connected to the 2016 election remain unresolved,” Goodlatte said.
“You have recused yourself from matters stemming from the 2016 election, but there are significant concerns that the partisanship of the FBI and the Department has weakened the ability of each to act objectively.”
Talking Points Memo: Gowdy: I Don't Think 'Threshold Has Been Met' For Clinton Special Counsel
Like Trump, Goodlatte is pissed that Sessions ever recused himself. Great mindset for the Judiciary Committee Chair, isn't it? Not to mention our old pal Jim Jordan. Further from The Hill article"
Goodlatte noted Tuesday that he believed had Sessions not recused himself from that probe, the attorney general "would have been impartial and fair in following the facts wherever they led.”
In a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sessions rejected his argument that “it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government ... so they could then get a warrant to spy on President Trump’s campaign.”
"I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," Sessions said sharply.
It would take "a factual basis that meets the standard of a special counsel" for the Justice Department to make such an appointment, he said.
Sessions has never done anything that caused me to like him. But that did it."I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," Sessions said sharply.
At least for today.
Am I being detained?
Jeff Sessions rebuffed a Republican who wants to investigate Comey
Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have just thrown a wrench into GOP plans to open a new federal investigation of Hillary Clinton.
This morning at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) pressed Sessions for a special counsel investigation into how former FBI Director James Comey handled the Clinton probe during the election. Clinton was being investigated for using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
Sessions pushed backed, saying a special counsel is only appointed if there is enough evidence to merit that appointment.
Sessions noted that there have only ever been two special counsels: one for the Waco siege in April 1993, and Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. “Each of those are pretty special, factual situations,” Sessions said, “and we will use the proper standards.”
It’s an important exchange, especially as Republicans in Congress also want a special counsel to look into Uranium One, where Republicans claimed Clinton gave Russia 20 percent of America’s uranium when she was secretary of state. But that’s demonstrably not true, which would make a special counsel appointment very odd
‘It’s grotesque’: Justice Dept. veterans recoil at idea of another special counsel
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton has alarmed current and former Justice Department officials who fear he will further politicize the embattled agency.
Sessions said at a congressional hearing Tuesday that he will weigh recommendations from senior prosecutors on whether to appoint a special counsel over a 2010 uranium company deal and other issues, including donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Such an appointment could give President Trump and Republicans a political counterweight to the ongoing work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is probing whether any Trump associates coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in last year’s presidential election.
For that reason, Sessions’s suggestion has raised fresh questions about the independence of the Justice Department in the Trump administration.
“To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel who investigated the FBI’s role in a violent standoff with a cult in Waco, Tex. “The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad.”
Feinstein pushes for details on Kushner's role in Comey, Flynn firings
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is requesting documents on the potential involvement of President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in the firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter on Wednesday to White House counsel Donald McGahn, saying she wants him to turn over details on Kushner by Nov. 27.
"In order to conduct a fair, balanced and thorough investigation the committee needs to have the facts and the requested documents. This is also important for the committee's upcoming questioning of Mr. Kushner," Feinstein wrote in the letter.
A spokesman for Feinstein clarified that a sit-down between the committee and Kushner has been requested, but not set up yet.
Is Trump Interfering in Mueller’s Russia Probe by Pushing Out a U.S. Attorney?
A Democratic lawmaker wants to examine the abrupt resignation of a prominent Department of Justice official with connections to the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
On Wednesday, Senator Chris Coons asked the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing about the October resignation of Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. That district is where special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly began using a grand jury around July to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
Boente, who has been at the Justice Department for more than three decades, is also resigning from his role as an acting assistant attorney general. He will stay at the department until the Senate confirms President Donald Trump’s nominee for that role. Early in the Trump administration, he served as acting attorney general and acting deputy attorney general. The Justice Department announced his resignation on October 27.
The Eastern District of Virginia is one of the most prominent of the 94 U.S. attorney districts. Because of an executive order that Trump signed in March, the U.S. attorney there is toward the top of the line of succession at the Justice Department. That means if Trump demands the Justice Department fire Mueller, and enough officials refuse, the Eastern District of Virginia attorney could become responsible for carrying out the order.
Democrats move to defend Mueller against Trump allies
Democrats are making a fresh push to defend special counsel Robert Mueller as conservatives escalate their political assault on the Russia investigator.
President Donald Trump's allies in recent days have renewed their attacks on Mueller amid reports that a top deputy traded anti-Trump texts over the summer, evidence of what they claim is a festering bias. Several news organizations also reported Tuesday that Mueller had subpoenaed records about Trump’s finances from Deutsche Bank, potentially delving into an area that Trump has said could lead him to fire the special counsel. And the conservative legal group Judicial Watch released an email Tuesday from another Mueller prosecutor that it said showed evidence of Trump animus.
The developments are raising new alarms among Democrats that Trump could follow through on his past flirtation with firing Mueller, although Republicans say they don’t see a pressing need to protect the special counsel.
Senators said Monday that bipartisan talks are continuing around combining two bills that would shield Mueller from such a move. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on both proposals in September, although Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has declined to indicate whether he would support a merged version. ...
Moving forward on the Mueller-protection bills is an “absolutely necessary” step after the guilty plea by Michael Flynn, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview. “They need to be combined into one, and I think we have bipartisan agreement about it.”
Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify next week before the House Judiciary Committee about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Rosenstein will appear before the panel on Dec. 13, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced Wednesday.
Rosenstein's hearing comes as Republicans express concerns over possible bias in Mueller's investigation. Reports last week said the special counsel had removed a veteran FBI agent from his team for sending anti-Trump text messages. ...
Goodlatte said committee members will have the chance to question Rosenstein about those developments.
Rosenstein said in an interview published Wednesday with an NBC affiliate in Maryland that he is satisfied with Mueller's work so far.
I can see it coming. Republicons have been looking for an excuse to allow Trump to get away with his probable tit-for-tat with Russia.
"I know that human being and fish can coexist peacefully"
--- George W Bush
--- George W Bush