A top Senate Democrat called Monday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify, again, as part of the probe into Russian meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, requesting Sessions’ appearance after reports of “substantive” conversations last year on President Trump’s policy plans between Sessions and now-former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“If this is true, it would be directly contrary to the testimony that Attorney General Sessions gave — under oath — before the Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings,” Feinstein wrote, adding it would be “directly contrary” to Sessions’ statements that he did not “recall any discussion with the Russian Ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, regarding the political campaign on these occasions or any other occasion.”
Feinstein urged Grassley to consider bringing Sessions before the panel, as Judiciary has “the primary jurisdiction and responsibility for conducting oversight jurisdiction of the Justice Department.”
“I have requested the intelligence intercepts from Ambassador Kislyak’s transmissions and believe that they raise additional question about the Attorney General’s discussions concerning Russia during the past year,” Feinstein wrote.
"As Chairman Grassley told reporters last week, he is interested in holding the committee’s regular Justice Department oversight hearing sometime this fall," Grassley's Press Secretary Taylor Foy told Fox News. "Ideally, the Attorney General would at least be able to have his team in place before such a hearing, so we could get a complete picture of how the Department is functioning with a full staff. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have insisted in dragging out the confirmation process for Justice Department nominees at nearly every turn."
Sessions already testified before a different Senate panel. On June 13, the attorney general appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is leading its own, independent Russia probe. Sessions denied any collusion with the Russians and called such allegations a lie.
“I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign in the United States,” Sessions said in his testimony. “The suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion, of the Russian government to hut this country which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie.”
Sessions has been on defense in recent days after the president told The New York Times that Sessions’ recusal from overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe was “very unfair to the president,” and that he might not have hired Sessions for attorney general had he known he would do so.
The president tweeted early Monday criticizing congressional panels and Sessions:
"So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?"