AG Sessions: Accusations of Russia collusion ‘appalling’

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in Tuesday as he prepares to testify at a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill. Sessions faced questions over his dealings with Russian officials during President Donald Trump's campaign and what role he had in former FBI Director James Comey's firing. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI

June 13 (UPI) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday thoroughly dismissed the notion that President Donald Trump‘s campaign partnered in any way with the Russian government last fall to tilt the election in his favor.

Sessions, the United States’ top law enforcement officer, made the remarks during an appearance before the Senate Committee on Intelligence — just five days after former FBI Director James Comey showed up there to add weight to his side of the story.

In his testimony, Sessions called allegations of campaign collusion “appalling” and “detestable.”

“Let me state this clearly — I have never met with or had any conversations with Russians or any foreign officials,” he said. “Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.”

The former Alabama senator, who’s removed himself from the U.S. Justice Department’s inquiry into the Russian question due to contacts he had last year with a Kremlin envoy, expressed disappointment that part of the Senate panel’s focus is on him.

“I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process is an appalling and detestable lie,” he said.

Thursday, Comey told the committee that it’s his belief that he was fired by Trump to “relieve” pressure from the Justice Department’s inquiry. A concurrent probe is also ongoing in the House.

During his appearance, Sessions refused to answer certain questions about private discussions he had with Trump, saying it’s traditional Justice Department policy to shield such talks with a president.

“I am not stonewalling,” he said.

Sessions recused himself from the DOJ probe because he had multiple contacts last summer with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, the same diplomat who was at the center of the dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.


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