Attorney General Jeff Sessions has denied colluding with Russia ahead of the 2016 election, during a highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Sessions spent much of Tuesday’s hearing refusing to answer questions about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and whether Trump had expressed concern to Sessions about the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. This is independent Senator Angus King of Maine grilling Sessions about his refusal to answer questions.
Sen. Angus King: “What is the legal basis for your refusal to answer these questions?”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “I am protecting the right of the president to exert it—assert it if he chooses. And there may be other privileges that could apply in this circumstance.”
Sen. Angus King: “Well, I don’t—I don’t understand how you can have it both ways. The president can’t not assert it. And you’ve testified that only the president can assert it, and yet I just don’t understand the legal basis for your—for your refusal to answer.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Well, it would it be premature for me to deny the president a full and intelligent choice about executive privilege.”
That was Jeff Sessions testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday. During the testimony, California Senator Kamala Harris was interrupted by Sen. John McCain of Arizona as she questioned Sessions. Harris was also interrupted by McCain last week as she questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, leading many to charge him with sexism. The Senate is slated to vote today on whether to impose a series of new sanctions against Russia over the alleged interference in the 2016 election. We’ll have more on Jeff Sessions’s testimony after headlines.