Republicans urge Trump on tapes; Sessions to testify Tuesday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Central Islip N.Y

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was scheduled to testify publicly next Tuesday before the House and Senate appropriations committees.

"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum", Sessions said in the letter.

Sessions is likely to be asked about his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and whether there were more encounters that should have been made public.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

Speaking to lawmakers later in closed session, sources said, Comey confirmed that he had been talking about a story that NBC News and other outlets had already reported - the existence of classified intelligence suggesting an undisclosed meeting between Sessions and the Russian ambassador to the April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

One of the "overlooked" details from Thursday, Rather said, is that "Attorney General Sessions is now a marked man" because Comey revealed yet another undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Russian ambassador to the US and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak.

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"The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter", said department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, referring to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the department's Russian Federation probe.

An early backer of Trump, Sessions recused himself from the DOJ investigation during the early days of the administration.

Two leading Senate Democrats, Dianne Feinstein of California and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, called on Sessions to appear - in public - before the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice.

The Justice Department has said that while Sessions was there, for a speech by Trump, there were no meetings or private encounters. WYDEN: How would you characterize Attorney General Sessions's adherence to his recusal? Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, and Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies.

Feinstein acknowledged she "would have a queasy feeling, too" if Comey's testimony was true that Lynch, as President Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe the FBI probe into Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation. Comey declined to elaborate in an open setting. If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain? "My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving", Comey added.

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