Sessions to Face 'Thorny' Questions Today
Attorney General appears before Congress at 2:30pm EDT
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2017 6:48 AM CDT
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Attorney General Jeff Session, right, and Vice President Mike Pence attend a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions slides into the hot seat Tuesday afternoon, to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on his contact with Russians in an open hearing (the open part reportedly at Sessions' request). It'll be his first time testifying in front of Congress since he recused himself from the Russian investigation, and he'll face questions centered around three names: President Trump, Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and James Comey.

  • As a starting point, the Washington Post explains why Sessions' testimony on Russia matters.
  • Axios outlines three "thorny" questions Sessions will face and provides his expected answers. Two involve Sessions' interactions with Kislyak; the third has to do with a Feb. 14 conversation between Sessions and Comey. "This is a big deal, as Comey gave his account under oath."
  • The Washington Post draws up a list of its own questions Sessions should be asked, and they're spun off of two "key points" from Comey's testimony: that the FBI knew of Sessions' interactions with Russian officials long before it became public and a sticking point around his recusal: If Trump fired Comey over the Russia investigation, how much involvement did Sessions have in the firing?

  • CNN asks a thorny question of its own: "Can Jeff Sessions avoid some questions by citing executive privilege?" Sean Spicer on Monday suggested such a move is possible, and legal experts tell CNN he could legally do so in certain situations—if a question touched on national security, yes, about a confidential conversation, maybe not. But it could get hairy: The committee could hold him in contempt if he invokes it, leaving it to the courts to decide whether privilege is applicable.
  • The Los Angeles Times places its bets: Sessions "is expected to support the president under oath and to question Comey’s version of events, giving the White House a chance to push back after days of harsh headlines."
  • Sessions will appear before the committee about 2:30pm EDT. For some in-depth pre-hearing reading, check out Julia Ioffe's lengthy look at Sessions' interactions with Kislyak and other ambassadors at the Atlantic.

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