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Tag: Attorney General

Sessions’ Explanation for Dodging Some Questions Raises Red Flags

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions often refused to answer questions from lawmakers on Tuesday, claiming that he does not have to disclose private deliberations involving the president.

But analysts are questioning whether Sessions’ use of executive privilege was appropriate and just an excuse to avoid answering tough questions.

For example, Sessions declined to say whether he was aware of the White House discussing future pardons if anyone in the Trump circle is charged with colluding with Russia to undermine the presidential election.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, told Sessions during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

Sessions acknowledged that Trump has not asserted executive privilege and that the attorney general has no authority to claim it.

“It’s my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer,” Sessions said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin said Sessions did not provide an adequate reason to refuse to answer questions. 

“His justification for refusing to answer the questions was completely incoherent. He claimed executive privilege but then denied that he had done so,” Ohlin said. “It made no sense whatsoever. He’s basically trying to have his cake and eat it, too: claim executive privilege but then pretend that he didn’t. His position has no basis in law, common sense, or logic.”

AG Sessions Dismisses Collusion Allegations with Russia as a ‘Detestable Lie’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed allegations that he colluded with the Russian government as “an appalling and detestable lie” during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me,” Sessions said in his opening remarks.

Sessions, however, had trouble recalling whether he had a third discussion with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, saying it’s “possible, but I don’t recall it.”

“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said.

Sessions admitted he met twice with Kislyak twice after failing to disclose the conversations during his confirmation hearing.

While Sessions was quick to defend himself against allegations of collusion, he declined to answer numerous questions, including whether he knew of any discussions in the White House about future pardons in connection with the Russia investigation.

Sessions also said it was “inappropriate” to disclose whether President Trump expressed disapproval of Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

The failure to answer questions drew criticism from Democrats.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

Sessions’ Troubled Relationship with Trump to Be Put to Test Today

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, defending the president’s populist agenda.

But his loyalty to the president will be tested during today’s Senate Intelligence Committee in which Sessions will be grilled about the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation for failing to initially reveal contacts with a Russian ambassador, could provide critical information about the probe. Or he could invoke executive privilege and decline to answer the most sensitive questions.

During fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week, he said it would be “problematic” to loop Sessions into details of Trump’s alleged request of Comey to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sessions also could come under fire for his involvement with Comey’s firing, especially since Trump later acknowledged the termination was the result of the federal investigation into Russia.

As it turns out, Sessions privately offered to resign after Trump criticized the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess how Sessions will address the tough questions he’ll be asked during the hearing.

Other Stories of Interest

AG Sessions Wants to Prosecute Medical Marijuana Users, Providers

medical marijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to prosecute people who sell medical marijuana in states that have approved the sales for qualifying patients.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Sessions urged lawmakers to undo federal marijuana medical protections instituted in 2014, the Washington Post reports.

Under President Obama, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bars the Justice Department from using federal funds to crack down on marijuana in states where medical use has been approved.

Sessions argues in the letter:

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.

Sessions’ claim that medical marijuana is part of a “historic drug epidemic” is at odds with researchers who say the real problem is opiate deaths and overdoses, which have declined in states that approved medical marijuana.

John Hudak of the Brookings Institution responded that the letter is a “scare tactic” that “could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment.”

More Must-See TV: Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Testify in Open Hearing on Tuesday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thursday used to be “Must-See TV” night on NBC.

But lately, it seems that is applicable to the televised hearings of the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee plans to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify in an open hearing on Tuesday, a televised appearance that’s likely to get big TV ratings.

Last Thursday, fired FBI Director James Comey had many glued to the TV when he testified before the same committe.

It will be Session’s first time testifying before Congress since he became attorney general.

 

Senate Committee to Grill AG Sessions on Involvement of Comey’s Firing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has agreed to testify Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the former Republican senator likely will answer questions behind closed doors.

Sessions is expected to be grilled over comments made by fired FBI Director James Comey, who told the same committee last week that President Trump pressured him to end an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Senators from both sides of the aisle also want to know why Sessions was involved Comey’s termination, especially since the attorney general came under fire for failing to disclose meetings with a Russian ambassador and because he recused himself from the Russian investigation, CBS News reports. 

Sessions was expected to testify about the DOJ budget before the Judiciary Committee, but he switched committees after it became clear that he would be questioned about his role in Comey’s firing.

AG Sessions’ Tiff with Trump Is Over Loyalty, Not What’s Right

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed the ultimate act of disloyalty in the eyes of President Trump when the former Republican senator recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Although even Republicans said Sessions should have recused himself because of previously undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the ever-defiant Trump did not.

Sessions’ decision to recuse himself opened the door for his deputy to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia – a decision that ultimately could lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment, experts say.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that Sessions threatened to quit his post following repeated clashes with the president. 

The revelation surprised many observers because Sessions was the first major supporter of Trump during the testy primary election.

But it has become increasingly clear that Trump doesn’t value traditional ethics as much as he does his own preservation.

Trump’s Warm Relationship with AG Jeff Sessions Has Turned Icy Cold

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Few elected officials were as quick and passionate about supporting Donald Trump for president than Jeff Sessions, who was a senator at the time.

His loyalty helped land him the job as attorney general.

But the cozy, warm relationship between Trump and Sessions has appeared to turn ice cold, at least for the president, the New York Times reports. 

Sources told the Times that Trump has complained for months that Sessions decided to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling, a choice that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel to take over the probe.

And on Monday, Trump unleashed a series of tweets that accused Sessions’ department of devising a “watered down, politically correct” version of the travel ban.

The public admonition of an attorney general is rare for a president.

“They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” said Walter E. Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general under Mr. Clinton. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”