Quantcast
Connect with us

US attorney general tiptoes around Russia probe at hearing

Published

on

Questions about President Donald Trump and the investigation into whether his 2016 election campaign colluded with Russia overshadowed a Senate hearing on Wednesday with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been a frequent target of Trump’s wrath.

Sessions was the sole witness at the hearing on the Justice Department’s proposed 2019 budget, where Democrats repeatedly drew the spotlight to the Russia probe.

In ways that could keep Trump’s fury in check, Sessions delicately navigated questions on recusals, pardons and even the possible firing of high-ranking officials.

Sessions would not say if he had recused himself, or would, from an ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen or if he would consider resigning in protest should Trump decide to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia probe.

He did risk irking his boss when he said he had full confidence in Rosenstein.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump has frequently railed against Sessions, saying he regretted tapping him as the country’s top lawyer because of Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The president has also openly targeted other officials, including Mueller, and labeled the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.”

“That calls for a speculative answer,” Sessions told Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, when asked if he would resign if either Rosenstein and Mueller was fired. “I am not able to do that.”

 When asked later for his legal opinion about the open question of whether Trump had the power to dismiss Mueller, Sessions said he was recused from answering.
Sessions declined to discuss any possible recusal in the Cohen probe, because that could lead to confirming or denying an investigation. The department has strict prohibitions against publicly discussing investigations.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have sought advice on those matters. I have not met with the top ethics person on it, but I can assure you I have not violated my recusal,” he said.

The FBI raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this month, partly on a referral from the special counsel, sending Trump to Twitter to bash the probe and department.

Trump’s unorthodox attacks have prompted some critics to worry about to the independence of Justice Department investigations.

ADVERTISEMENT

The hearing touched on almost every budget line for the department, from databases to immigration policy, frequently forcing Sessions to defend the Trump administration.

 In one combative exchange with Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Sessions backed Trump’s decision to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney, without consulting Justice Department experts. In the same exchange, he attacked former President Bill Clinton for similar pardons.
“The pardons President Clinton made were stunning, shocking and unacceptable on the merits,” Sessions said. “Arpaio was 80-something years of age and he was convicted of a misdemeanor.”

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].

Send confidential news tips to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

DOJ policy blocking Trump from being indicted ‘factored into’ the end of the Stormy Daniels case: report

Published

on

Federal prosecutors decided to close the investigation into the 2016 criminal hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that benefitted the Trump campaign because, in part, of the policy that prevents the indictment of a sitting president, according to a new report from USA Today citing an anonymous source.

Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to the violation of campaign finance law. He said that he carried out the effort in coordination with and at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump in order to increase his chances of victory in the 2016 presidential election.

Continue Reading

Facebook

WATCH: Ilhan Omar receives thunderous applause and cheering in Minnesota after Trump’s racist attacks

Published

on

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump’s Pentagon spokeswoman forced staff to run errands — and even help her adopt a foster child: report

Published

on

On Thursday, the Department of Defense Inspector General released a scathing report on ex-Pentagon spokesperson Dana White, the result of an investigation that began last year following ethics complaints from her staff.

The IG concluded that White used federal staffers to help her run personal errands both during and outside of work hours. Officials were forced to book her personal travel, deliver lunch and snacks to her office, act as her chauffeur, handle her dry cleaning, and book a makeup artist to come to her house.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image