Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony in front of a Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday took center stage for all five network late-night hosts, with Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert taking shots at Sessions for his appearance and obfuscation in front of lawmakers.
Mr Comey, last week had made it clear that he felt some way about having one-on-one conversations with President Trump, where the latter seemed to be asking him to drop a major investigation against one of his allies. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) told Sessions: "You're not answering questions". And then he didn't answer my question.
Sessions testified Tuesday that he recused himself from the current Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation that required it because of his involvement in the Trump campaign. Back in January, Sessions told Senator Al Franken, quote, "I did not have communications with the Russians". And then he dodged, waffled, stalled, repeatedly refusing to answer direct questions.
Sessions said it was "absurd" to suggest that he should have kept his distance from that decision given its apparent connection to the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the presidential election.
"You'd worked with director Comey for some time, did you ever have a conversation as a superior with his failure to perform or some of these accusations that he wasn't running the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a good way, or that somehow the Federal Bureau of Investigation was is in turmoil [before his termination]?" Sen. He explained that Trump had not invoked executive privilege, but that Sessions wanted to preserve the president's right to assert it in the future.
The attorney general's refusal to answer some questions about his communications with the president frustrated some senators. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was being "hysterical" while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday.
The upshot was that he remains unable to remember anything of substance about his interactions with the Russians - including whether he might have run into Mr. Kislyak a third time during the campaign. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected with the Trump campaign", Sessions said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has formally requested access to Comey's notes as a part of its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Sessions said he "racked my brain" and had no meeting with any Russian in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.
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In his testimony on Tuesday, Sessions addressed media reports that he may have had a third previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower Hotel past year.
Testifying last week before the same committee, Comey recalled that Trump had asked him to "let go" of a probe into onetime national security advisor Michael Flynn - exposing the president to accusations of obstruction of justice, a potentially impeachable offense.
Did Sessions warn Trump about his discussions with Comey? But there has been tension between the two men in recent weeks because Trump was annoyed that Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe.
"More often than not, the committee conducts its work behind closed doors, a necessary step to ensure that our most sensitive sources and methods are protected", Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said Tuesday at the start of the Sessiona hearing.
Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Trump campaign-Russia investigation.
Sessions confirmed Comey's account, but he placed less emphasis on the Trump-Comey meeting.
According to The Washington Post, Sessions counselled Trump on nearly every major policy proposal he made during the campaign, including immigration, chaired Trump's national security advisory committee and even offered advice on whom Trump could choose for vice-president.