It later came out in closed session questioning that Sessions had yet another meeting with Russian ambassador to the US and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak. On Friday, the panel told the White House it wants to know if there are Trump tapes.
Ousted FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week heavily implicated Session in multiple matters related to the Russian Federation investigation and called into question how thorough his recusal has been from matters relating to the 2016 presidential campaign. As of this writing, it's not clear if that will be in open session, or behind closed doors.
In a letter sent Saturday, Sessions wrote, "Some members have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, from which I have recused, and for which the deputy attorney general appointed a special counsel". Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate committees but it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation. Dianne Feinstein of California, tells CNN's "State of the Union" that she also "would have a queasy feeling" and thinks Congress needs to know more.
He was supposed to testify before the House and Senate appropriations committees about next year's budget for the Department of Justice.
Republican Senator James Lankford, a member of the intelligence panel, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the decision was not finalized, but "I assume that this will be public". Comey testified in public and then met with the committee in a closed session to discuss matters touching on classified information. You need to testify before both in public. "You can't run forever", Leahy said in a Twitter message to Sessions.
As for the timing of Sessions' recusal, Comey said the FBI expected the attorney general to take himself out of the matters under investigation weeks before he actually did.
He also branded the president a liar and said Trump urged him to abandon the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Kasowitz has declared Trump "completely vindicated" by Comey's assertion that he told the president he was not personally a target of the FBI's investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with Russian Federation during the election.
Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that had met twice past year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. "Totally illegal?" he asked in a tweet.
Because of Comey's testimony, Sessions says he wants to talk to the same committee Comey did. "We have to keep in mind that this is one person's record of what happened".
Comey also said Trump had defamed him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and that he took meticulous notes of their private meetings because he did not trust the Republican president to tell the truth about them.
"I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible", Trump wrote in an early morning tweet. "If there aren't tapes, he should let that be known".