Jeff Sessions Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire the special prosecutor overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

"(Sessions) believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow", Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Monday. According to long-standing Justice Department guidelines, contact between the White House and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is supposed to be routed through the attorney general or deputy attorney general to avoid the appearance of undue influence.

Senators are expected to hone in on Comey's recounting of a February 14 White House meeting where Trump pressed the director to drop the FBI's inquiry into national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked Rosenstein at a budget hearing Tuesday what he would do if Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the USA elections and possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign.

The public testimony should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

"I recused myself from any investigation into the campaigns for President, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations", Sessions said. An order from the president would not necessarily qualify, he said.

"We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic, " Comey said.

The attorney general, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, has recused himself from the DOJ Russia investigation. Comey said Lynch told him "not to call it an investigation but to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me".

"I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible", Trump tweeted over the weekend. The committee shortly after said the hearing would be open. The Justice Department sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify about the budget instead. Comey told the intelligence committee in a closed session that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the United States, according to people familiar with the briefing.

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Watch replay of Sessions' testimony in the player below.

Russian Federation has denied interfering in the US election.

As news of his testimony broke, Sessions attended a Cabinet meeting with Trump at the White House. But Democrats on the Senate panel pressed him repeatedly on issues such as his contacts with Russian Federation and his role in the dismissal of Comey - who led the FBI's probe on Russian Federation until he was ousted.

Schiff says that if Trump fires Mueller, Congress might name its own independent counsel to investigate the case.

Asked Monday if the White House thought Sessions should invoke executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his conversations with Trump, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer replied, "It depends on the scope of the questions".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called the suggestion that he may have colluded with Russian Federation in its interference in the 2016 election a lie.

Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two meetings a year ago with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

During his testimony last week, Comey said he had notes of meetings with Trump in which the president asked him for a pledge of personal loyalty and to drop the Russian Federation investigation as it pertained to former national security adviser Flynn.

Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET, has the potential for high drama as the Russian Federation probe continues to dominate USA politics, sidelining President Donald Trump's domestic agenda.

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