Jeff Sessions Backpedals, Surrenders To Open Hearing After Public Outrage
Following the public outrage over his request to testify behind closed doors, Attorney General Jeff Sessions now wants his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee to be public, his office announced Monday.
“He 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,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, USA Today reports.
Sessions’ testimony is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey told the same panel that “President Trump fired him in order to interfere with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.”
In early March, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after acknowledging two contacts with Kislyak; during a confirmation hearing in January, Sessions said he had not met with Russians during last year’s presidential campaign.
But Comey revealed during his testimony last Thursday that Sessions had a previously undisclosed meeting with a top Russian official who is a key figure in the investigation.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chair and ranking Democrat, jointly announced that Sessions would testify Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET “in open session.”
The high-stakes testimony also takes place amid reported friction between Sessions and Trump, who criticized the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself in the Russia probe.