Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified on Tuesday that he did not collude with Russia at any point during the 2016 election and that his recusal from the investigation had to finish with Justice Department regulations well than personal things.
“The suggestion that I participated in collusion [with Russia]…is an appalling and detestable lie,” Sessions said in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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Less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on his interactions with President Donald Trump, Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he encouraged the investigation into possible Russian collusion, but categorically denied that he had any inappropriate meetings with Russian officials.
“I did not possess any private meetings, nor finish I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” Sessions said of a supposed assembly he had in April 2016.
The attorney general added that whether he attended a reception where Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was present “was beside the point” of the Russia probe. He later said he did not remember having a conversation or assembly with Kislyak.
Sessions also explained that he recused himself from the Russia probe not over any wrongdoing, but because of a Justice Department regulation.
“I recused myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing on my share during the campaign, but because a Department of Justice regulation…required it,” said Sessions, who described how Justice Department employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign whether they had served as share of that same organization.
Even with his recusal from the investigation, Sessions made it clear he was going to defend himself against the allegations.
“I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and fraudulent allegations,” he told the committee.