On Saturday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled his scheduled appearance before an open session of the House and Senate appropriations committees set for the coming week.
Think Progress reported that Sessions sent letters to the chairmen of the committees saying that he will send his deputy Rod Rosenstein in his stead. He explained that he was withdrawing from public testimony because he believes members of the committee intend to question him on “issues related to the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.”
Sessions came off particularly badly in last Thursday’s testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, leading Dan Rather to label him a “marked man.” If Comey is to be believed, Sessions has been under FBI scrutiny for months for his meetings with Russian government officials — meetings that Sessions lied about at his confirmation hearing.
In his testimony, Comey said that he could not go to Sessions with his concerns about President Donald Trump’s attempts to stop the Russia investigation because he knew that Sessions was about to be exposed as acting on the Russian government’s behalf and was therefore not to be trusted.
“Our judgment, as I recall, is that [Sessions] was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an opening setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,” Comey said.
It later came out in closed session questioning that Sessions had yet another meeting with Russian ambassador to the U.S. and purported spymaster Sergey Kislyak.
Judd Legum at Think Progress said, “Instead of testifying publicly before the appropriations committees, where these matters could be discussed in the light of day, Sessions will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Washington Post and USA Today report that Sessions’ appearance is expected to be closed.”