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Tag: testimony

3 Takeaways from Sessions’ Testimony about Trump-Russia Contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said his hazy memory is to blame for any inconsistent responses he has given to Congress about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Here are highlights of his testimony:

1. Sessions now remembers attending a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Under Oath in October, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-tied Russians.

But when he heard about the arrest of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos this month, Sessions said he suddenly remembered the aide proposing a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions told the committee, adding that he believes he advised Papadopuolos to scrap a Trump-Putin meeting. 

2. Sessions dismissed accusations that he committed perjury.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions testified. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions’ failure to recall key facts about ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials drew heavy criticism.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., listed numerous times Sessions said insisted “I do not recall” while testifying before Congress in the past.

Sessions said the “chaos” of running a presidential campaign makes it easy to forget details about certain events.

“All of you have been in a campaign, but most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign,” Sessions said.

3. Sessions shocked many Republicans when he refused to promise the appointment of a new special counsel to investigation Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Sessions said there was “not enough basis” to appoint a special counsel, prompting a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asked what it would take to make the appointment.

“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”

Jordan said it “looks like” there was enough evidence for a special counsel, pointing to allegations that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

Sessions responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

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.”

Comey to Testify That Trump Pressured Him to End Investigation of Top Aide

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In what could be bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, fired FBI director James Comey plans to confirm that President Trump pressured him to stop investigating a top aide’s ties to Russia, CNN reports. 

Such testimony could set the stage for impeachment hearings because it’s largely considered obstruction of justice for a president to interfere with a federal investigation. Just think former President Nixon, whose demise came after he pressured the FBI to stop investigating his campaign.

Although no date has been set, Comey is expected to provide details of his tense interactions with Trump, who fired the FBI director after the bureau refused to end an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia during the presidential election. 

Comey has already met privately with Special Counsel Robert Mueller III to determine what testimony would not compromise the investigation.

While a source told CNN that Comey is unlikely to discuss details of the investigation, he is prepared to reveal his interactions with Trump, which include the president pressuring the FBI to end the investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser. 

Trump Defends Michael Flynn After He Offered to Testify Against the President

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

President Trump is defending former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s offer to testify in ongoing probes of Russian hacking of the 2016 election in exchange for legal immunity.

Trump wrote on Twitter early Friday morning that investigation had become “a witch hunt,” echoing language used by his former campaign adviser’s attorney.

Flynn’s lawyer told The Wall Street Journal one day earlier that the retired lieutenant general is willing to talk to the House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their probes into Russian election meddling and Trump and his aides’ alleged ties to Moscow. But any testimony or interview would have to come with a promise that Flynn would not be prosecuted.

Apple’s Fight Against FBI Over Unlock iPhone Heads to Congress This Week

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple and the FBI will take their fight over a locked iPhone to Congress this week.

FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to lay out his position before the House Judiciary Committee after Apple fought a court order to help the bureau unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, The Hill reports. 

The same day, Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell will make his case in testimony during a second panel.

At issue is Apple’s refusal to create software to disable a feature that wipe a phone of its memory after an incorrect password is entered 1o times in a row.

“This is a huge issue which is very complex. It should not be decided by a single district judge in California, it should be decided right here,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Hill this week. But, he added, “I don’t think we’re ready to articulate” what legislation is needed.

Defiant NYT Reporter James Risen Dodges Testimony in CIA Leak Case After Years of Wrangling

Reporter James Risen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James Risen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who pledged to go to jail before revealing a government source, won’t be called to testify in the case of the former CIA officer suspected of being the leak, the Washington Post reports.

Since the ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was charged with leaking the information to Risen, the New York Times reporter was the star witness.

It’s unclear whether enough evidence exists to convict Sterling without Risen’s testimony.

The 2010 case has stalled for years as Risen fought efforts to subpoena him.

The information gathered from the source was used in Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War,” which documented what Risen depicted as a heavily flawed effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapon.

Prosecutors announced their decision not to pursue Risen’s testimony in a court filing Monday.

Prosecutors Won’t Release Records of Interview with Michael Brown’s Friend

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Few people were in a better position to see what happened to Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a Ferguson police officer, than his friend Dorian Johnson.

But NBC News points out that the FBI never released Johnson’s witness testimony, despite a pledge to disclose all of the evidence.

Johnson was with Brown the day he was killed.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch didn’t say why he omitted the records, which include pre-grand jury statements. His executive assistant, Bob McCulloch, said the federal government urged his office not to disclose records tied to the Justice Department’s civl rights investigation.

Experts Say Reputed Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger May Be Unable to Resist Testifying in Own Trial

 

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Will reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger testify in his own murder and racketeering trial?

Some experts believe it may be too hard for Bulger to resist.

“He’s already done-in. He’s going to die in prison,”  James McDonald, a lawyer for corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, told the Boston Herald. “This is the time to say what he’s going to say.”

But defense attorneys said it would be damaging if Bulger testifies in his own trial.

“From a defense attorney’s perspective, I’d rather he not take the stand,” William Kickham, an attorney and courtroom commentator, told the Boston Herlad.

“The risk of cross-examination is always very high. However, I think Whitey Bulger knows the chances of him walking away from this a free man are zero to none. I don’t think Bulger will be able to resist.”

Today, the defense takes center stage after prosecutors rested their case Friday.