On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will become the highest-ranking official to testify in the Senate’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions will testify in an open hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The attorney general is expected to face tough questions—particularly from Democrats—regarding Russia’s contact with Trump campaign associates and the circumstances of former FBI Director James Comey’s firing.
When Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. learned that Sessions’ testimony would be public, he called it a “positive step” but said the attorney general must be “forthcoming” regarding “unanswered and troubling questions.”
Schumer insisted that Sessions should detail the involvement he had in the Russia investigation prior to his recusal, what “safeguards” have been put in place, and why Sessions “felt it was appropriate” to recommend Comey’s dismissal when he was leading that investigation.
“Recommending Director Comey’s firing would seem to be a violation of his recusal, and Attorney General Sessions needs to answer for that,” Schumer said in a statement.
Sessions’ testimony might serve to escalate the political drama surrounding the Russia probe, distracting the Trump administration from its policy agenda. Even so, Sessions wanted the opportunity to testify publicly.
“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,” a Justice Department spokesperson said.
Republicans are tiring of the ongoing Russia investigation, with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claiming on “Fox News Sunday” that, “This is a fishing expedition. I’m calling for an end to the investigations about … President Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russians. There’s been no evidence of it.”
Tuesday’s open session hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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