On Tuesday afternoon U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee about his past conversations with a Russian official during the 2016 presidential election and his handling of a Russian probe that led to his recusal and unexpected role recommending that FBI Director James Comey should be fired by President Trump.
On March 2nd Sessions recused himself from the Russian probe after it was reported in the media that he failed to disclose in his confirmation hearing about his past conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions held an impromptu press conference announcing his recusal.
“During the course of the confirmation proceedings on my nomination to be Attorney General, I advised the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘[i]f a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed’ ” Sessions said in his March 2nd recusal statement.
“Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States” Sessions added.
Questions from Senators at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday will likely surface about the nature of Sessions’ past conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, his impartiality during the Russian probe at the Justice Department, and whether there was intent to obstruct justice through Comey’s firing as FBI director.
Several media outlets, including the New York Times, reported on Monday about a PBS interview with Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media who was at the White House on Monday and disclosed that President Trump is considering to fire special counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential elections and possible ties with the Trump campaign.
A decision by President Trump to fire Mueller could serve to rekindle concerns that the president is obstructing justice which comes after he fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9th and gave confusing explanations for his termination following Comey’s request for additional funds from the Trump administration for investigating Russian interference around the 2016 presidential election.
Removing Mueller as special counsel may potentially trigger a chain of events that causes a dilemma for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who just recently named Mueller as special counsel and could decide to resist following through with the president’s orders with no underlying basis for his removal.
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