Sessions' testimony to Congress Tuesday to be open to public

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington. Sessions whose contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign has sparked

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington. Sessions whose contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign has sparked

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he wants his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee to be open to the public.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be at the center of two controversies in the Trump administration: whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to help President Donald Trump win and whether the president obstructed justice. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate committees but it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.

The White House on Monday suggested Sessions could invoke executive privilege during his testimony depending on "the scope of the questions".

One aspect of the Comey hearing that was overwhelmed by the newsworthiness of his comments was his refusal to speak to the nature of Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation in an open hearing.

Comey's dramatic testimony drew invective from his former boss on Twitter, with Trump dismissing him as a leaker on Friday and a coward on Sunday.

Trump's aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russian Federation investigation have been recorded, and so has the president. Comey said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.

Tuesday's hearing may also throw new light on the awkward state of the relationship between Trump and Sessions.

Comey said Sessions responded with, essentially, a shrug. Comey welcomed any tapes during his hearing, and congressional investigators have asked the White House to produce them if they exist. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

US urges Gulf states to ease blockade against Qatar
Turkey's parliament, on the other hand, has approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support. Several other countries later followed suit.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will replace Sessions at the appropriations committees' hearing Tuesday.

The White House, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

A Justice Department official told CNN on Sunday that department officials expected the hearing would be closed but said the final decision was up to the Senate committee. Comey was leading that probe. But the former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan recently told Congress that his "radar" went off anytime Russians met with the Trump campaign because he knew the Russians were trying to influence the election, and he knew they often did that by trying to recruit "either wittingly or unwittingly" USA officials to help.

During Comey's appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, urging him to investigate possible obstruction of justice by Trump in Grassley's position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

And while Sessions agreed to testify publicly, there are questions about his motivations.

Lawmakers have since raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said it didn't happen.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that had met twice a year ago with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He had told lawmakers at his January confirmation hearing that he had not met with Russians during the campaign. Sessions has insisted his meetings with the Russian ambassador were a normal part of his Senate duties.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI had become "aware of facts that I can not discuss in an open setting" that would have made Sessions' involvement in the investigation "problematic".

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