Update: Sessions has begun taking questions after reading his opening statement, where he emotionally asserted that he has honorably carried out the duties of the attorney general, and he took umbrage at accusations that he lied in previous testimony. “I have always told the truth!”
Headlines have begun trickling in:
*SESSIONS WON’T SPECIFICALLY RESPOND TO REPORT ON ASSET SALES
*SESSIONS SAYS HAD ‘NO RECOLLECTION’ OF MEETINGS WITH TRUMP ADVISERS SPEAKING ABOUT RUSSIAN CONTACTS: CMTE HEARING
*SESSIONS SAYS NOW RECALLS MARCH MEETING WITH PAPADOPOULOS WHO MENTIONED RUSSIA CONTACTS: CMTE HEARING
*SESSIONS SAYS ONLY MADE CLEAR TO PAPADOPOULOS HE WASN’T AUTHORIZED TO REPRESENT CAMPAIGN WITH RUSSIAN GOVT: CMTE HEARING
*SESSIONS SAYS 27 OPEN INVESTIGATIONS INTO LEAKS OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
*SESSIONS SAYS DIRECTED SENIOR FEDERAL PROSECUTORS TO RECOMMEND IF INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE OPENED ON HILLARY CLINTON: CMTE HEARING
* * *
Last night, the Washington Post reported Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering whether to appoint another special counsel to investigate the Clintons and other Obama-era officials. This morning, the AG will face questions from Democrats when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. According to Reuters, the questions will likely focus on whether Sessions lied about communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
The hearing was scheduled as a routine oversight hearing. But given the recent leaks from the Mueller probe and the release of Carter Page’s redacted testimony – which both Page and the committee agreed to release to the public – Sessions has been warned to expect a barrage of questions about the Trump camp’s ties to Russia or Russian-linked entities.
Sessions has publicly testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee – back in June – and Senate Judiciary Committee – in October – previously this year to answer questions related to the various Congressional inquiries into whether Russia intentionally tried to influence the US election.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee told Sessions in a letter sent last week to expect questions on Russia, according to Reuters. The letter notes that George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, spoke with other campaign officials about his attempts to coordinate a meeting with Russian officials.
Sessions told Sen. Al Franken in October that he was “not aware of anyone else” within the campaign who had communications with the Russians. Given the revelations involving Papadopoulos, Page and Manafort that have emerged since, the veracity of Sessions’ previous sworn testimony will likely be called into question.
“There will be a lot about his sworn testimony to the Senate,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said of today’s hearing.
ABC added that on the topic of political interference in his department’s work, Democrats want “assurances” that the Justice Department’s leaders aren’t being pressured by Trump into “protecting friends and punishing enemies.”
Sessions may also be asked about the Justice Department’s response to the nation’s latest mass shooting. More than 20 people died after a gunman opened fire at a church about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 5.
The hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern:
Watch it live below: