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Tag: Senate Intelligence Committee

Kushner Returns for Another Round of Questions from Congressional Committee

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After insisting he had “nothing to hide” and acknowledged four meetings with Russians, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will return for second day of closed-door interviews with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

Kushner spent two hours Monday answering questions from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials before and after Trump was elected.

After the meeting, Kushner declared he did nothing wrong.

“I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts,” Kushner told reporters during a prepared statement. “And I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.”

Kushner released an 11-page statement hours before the Senate meeting. 

Kushner to Face Congressional Investigators Today about Ties to Russia

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Intelligence Committee will privately question senior White House Jared Kushner on Monday as congressional investigators examine claims that President Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election.

Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump, also is scheduled to meet behind closed doors for questioning by the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

The committees also are planning to question Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after negotiating with the men’s attorneys information and a date.

Some lawyers question the wisdom of answering questions that can be used in a future criminal case.

“It’s a very difficult tightrope to walk,’’ said Justin Dillon, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “He has to balance the political fallout from taking the Fifth Amendment with the potential criminal fallout of talking.’’

Senate Intelligence Committee Expects to Soon Review Comey Memos

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is expected to soon review memos written by former FBI Director James Comey to document his conversations with President Trump.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Wednesday that he’s received assurances that committee leaders will receive the memos, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Warner called the memos “critical information we have to have as part of our review process.”

Also on Wednesday, committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said he hopes the panel will be able wrap up its investigation by the end of the year.

As part of the investigation, the committee is expected to interview Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Sessions’ Explanation for Dodging Some Questions Raises Red Flags

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions often refused to answer questions from lawmakers on Tuesday, claiming that he does not have to disclose private deliberations involving the president.

But analysts are questioning whether Sessions’ use of executive privilege was appropriate and just an excuse to avoid answering tough questions.

For example, Sessions declined to say whether he was aware of the White House discussing future pardons if anyone in the Trump circle is charged with colluding with Russia to undermine the presidential election.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, told Sessions during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

Sessions acknowledged that Trump has not asserted executive privilege and that the attorney general has no authority to claim it.

“It’s my judgment that it would be inappropriate for me to answer and reveal private conversations with the president when he has not had a full opportunity to review the questions and to make a decision on whether or not to approve such an answer,” Sessions said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cornell Law School professor Jens David Ohlin said Sessions did not provide an adequate reason to refuse to answer questions. 

“His justification for refusing to answer the questions was completely incoherent. He claimed executive privilege but then denied that he had done so,” Ohlin said. “It made no sense whatsoever. He’s basically trying to have his cake and eat it, too: claim executive privilege but then pretend that he didn’t. His position has no basis in law, common sense, or logic.”

AG Sessions Dismisses Collusion Allegations with Russia as a ‘Detestable Lie’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed allegations that he colluded with the Russian government as “an appalling and detestable lie” during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“These false attacks, the innuendo, and the leaks, you can be sure, will not intimidate me,” Sessions said in his opening remarks.

Sessions, however, had trouble recalling whether he had a third discussion with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, saying it’s “possible, but I don’t recall it.”

“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said.

Sessions admitted he met twice with Kislyak twice after failing to disclose the conversations during his confirmation hearing.

While Sessions was quick to defend himself against allegations of collusion, he declined to answer numerous questions, including whether he knew of any discussions in the White House about future pardons in connection with the Russia investigation.

Sessions also said it was “inappropriate” to disclose whether President Trump expressed disapproval of Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

The failure to answer questions drew criticism from Democrats.

“You’re impeding this investigation by refusing to answer questions,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said. “I think your silence speaks volumes.”

Sessions’ Troubled Relationship with Trump to Be Put to Test Today

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, defending the president’s populist agenda.

But his loyalty to the president will be tested during today’s Senate Intelligence Committee in which Sessions will be grilled about the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation for failing to initially reveal contacts with a Russian ambassador, could provide critical information about the probe. Or he could invoke executive privilege and decline to answer the most sensitive questions.

During fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week, he said it would be “problematic” to loop Sessions into details of Trump’s alleged request of Comey to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sessions also could come under fire for his involvement with Comey’s firing, especially since Trump later acknowledged the termination was the result of the federal investigation into Russia.

As it turns out, Sessions privately offered to resign after Trump criticized the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess how Sessions will address the tough questions he’ll be asked during the hearing.

Other Stories of Interest

LA Times: Truth Or Consequence Time for AG Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

On Tuesday, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee need to pin Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions down about his role in the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and other matters that remain murky.

On May 9, Sessions wrote a letter to President Trump urging Comey’s dismissal “based on my evaluation, and for the reasons expressed by the deputy attorney general in the attached memorandum.” The memo he referred to by Deputy Atty. Gen Rod Rosenstein faulted Comey for the way he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Yet Trump later said that “I was going to fire [Comey] regardless of [the Justice Department’s] recommendation” and that he had “this Russia thing” on his mind when he made the decision. Did Sessions, who has recused himself from any investigation connected to last year’s election campaigns, know this when he wrote his letter to Trump? Did he assign Rosenstein to write the memo used to justify Comey’s dismissal?

More Must-See TV: Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Testify in Open Hearing on Tuesday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thursday used to be “Must-See TV” night on NBC.

But lately, it seems that is applicable to the televised hearings of the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee plans to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify in an open hearing on Tuesday, a televised appearance that’s likely to get big TV ratings.

Last Thursday, fired FBI Director James Comey had many glued to the TV when he testified before the same committe.

It will be Session’s first time testifying before Congress since he became attorney general.