By Dru Barcelo
“I don’t recall it” or “I can’t comment” are the famous phrases coming from Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his testimony in front of the Intelligence Committee. The meeting is a result of suspicion of Sessions in relation to the Russian Probe, with Democrats pressing him on his conversations with President Trump related to the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Sessions wasted no time, coming out denying all claims of any collusion with Russia. He called such allegations an “appalling, detestable lie.” Sessions went on to reinforce that he never met or had conversations with any Russian officials in regards to the 2016 election.
Sessions specifically denies meeting with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016. He could not “recall” any such private conversations with the accused Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.
“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador, I do not remember it,” he said.
The issue of James Comey’s testimony arose when Sessions claimed that Comey had lied about the meeting they had, one in which Comey expressed his discomfort with Trump and not wanting to be left alone with him again. Last week, Comey claimed that Sessions merely shrugged at the statement, whereas Sessions claimed he “responded to his comment by agreeing that the F.B.I. and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House.”
This unveils the issue of who is telling the truth and who lied under oath. The two stories have proven very contradictory in nature, therefore, in the interest of the Intelligence Committee, it is not of any benefit.
Questions from the Committee on conversations between Sessions and President Trump were left unanswered on Sessions’ basis of a longstanding practice not to disclose confidential conversations with the president that would potentially be subject to executive privilege. but several senators said that was not a legal basis to refuse to answer their questions. However, Democratic senators reacted angrily, noting that Mr. Trump had not invoked executive privilege to bar such testimony.
Democrats would go on to claim that Sessions was “stonewalling” and crippling the Democrat process’s ability to seek the truth.
The topic of Sessions recusing himself from the Russian investigation surfaced, Sessions defending himself detesting the claims of it being due to the fact that he was under investigation himself. He argued that he recused himself not because of “any sort of wrongdoing,” but in accordance with department regulations regarding his involvement with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.
Senator Cotton, a Republican of Arkansas, was not a fan of Former Director Comey and his “theatrics” last Thursday, going on to defend Comey by detesting these allegations as some sort of “spy fiction” similar to James Bond. This allowed Sessions to build of the topic to make a case for his innocence.
Though many answers could not be recalled in this testimony, there is a light in this testimony as there are many documents from Sessions that are to be given to the committee as a top priority in order to further this investigation, to continue to seek justice.