The series of dramatic congressional hearings will continue Tuesday, when embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes the stand.
The Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing is billed as a discussion on the Justice Department budget, but Democrats say they will use the opportunity to grill their former Senate colleague about his alleged contacts with Russians and the controversial firing of former FBI Directory James Comey, among other hot-button issues.
“I have sought for months to clarify Attorney General Sessions’ contacts with Russian officials following his false testimony in response to questions from me and from (Sen. Al) Franken. We wrote to the FBI requesting that they investigate such matters,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, in a statement Thursday.
“I am also deeply concerned about the attorney general’s role in firing Director Comey in light of his recusal from the Russia investigation.”
Last week, Leahy and Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, said Sessions should resign if he misled Congress about his contacts with Russians.
During Comey’s dramatic testimony Thursday, Democrats pressed him about Sessions’s involvement in the Russia probe before the attorney general recused himself from it.
“Director Comey didn’t have direct knowledge of his involvement, but made clear that he suspected that the Attorney General needed to recuse himself weeks before he actually did so, and that he could not share the reasons for that in an unclassified briefing,” said Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a floor speech. “So we need to know the answer to a number of questions regarding the attorney general. The Senate intelligence committee investigation and special counsel Mueller ought to get to the bottom of this matter.”
Also Thursday, White House aides finally confirmed that Trump still has confidence in Sessions, after two days of not answering the question. Sources told CNN Trump is frustrated that Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because it led to naming of a special counsel in the matter.
Sessions canceled an appearance before this same committee last month.