Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday, June 13, at 2:30 pm. The hearing will be open to the public and livestreamed on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s website and on Vox’s YouTube.
Sessions has come under serious scrutiny from senators — especially Senate Democrats — over his failure to disclose meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the confirmation process.
During his confirmation hearings, Sessions denied having any contacts with Russian officials; after he was confirmed, however, it was revealed that he had met with Kislyak twice during the 2016 presidential campaign. As a result, Sessions recused himself from involvement in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials.
However, Sessions was closely involved in Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in May — which Trump later said was a result of Comey’s role in the Russia investigation (contradicting the official White House narrative) — raising questions about whether Sessions had violated the terms of his recusal.
The questions about Sessions have reached a fever pitch over the past week. Comey himself testified to Congress on Thursday that the FBI had information that had led them to assume Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation even before Sessions decided to do it — but that he couldn’t reveal that information publicly. In a closed session, he reportedly told senators that Sessions had had another meeting with Kislyak that he hadn’t divulged (which might have been a meeting reported by CNN in May).
The possibility that Sessions failed to mention repeated contacts with the Russian ambassador in his vetting forms and confirmation hearings raises the possibility that it was a deliberate omission on Sessions’s part — which means he may have committed perjury when he testified under oath in his confirmation hearing that he’d had no contact with the Russian government. It also raises questions about what else might not be known about Sessions’s role in what Comey and others have portrayed as inappropriate pressure from the White House in the Russia investigation.