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Fresh questions for Sessions _ and he'll answer in public

Fresh questions for Sessions _ and he'll answer in public

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon in an open session, the committee announced Monday.

Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trumpcampaign after acknowledging that he had met twice a year ago with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

The White House initially cited memos from Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommending Comey's firing over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe as the reason for his dismissal, and did not mention the Russian Federation investigation.

After Trump's dismissal of Comey following the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the US election, the former FBI chief spoke to senators detailing his encounters and communication with the president.

Reports from the White House indicate that that recusal has been a sore spot between President Donald Trump and Sessions.

Diane Marie Amann, a law professor at University of Georgia, agreed with Spicer that invoking privilege was possible: "It depends on the questions that are asked", she said.

"There's a real question of the propriety of the attorney general participating in that in any way, shape or form", Reed, an ex-officio member of the Senate intelligence committee, said on "Fox News Sunday".

In its initial explanation of Comey's firing, the White House said that Trump accepted a recommendation from Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Either way, senators said he would face pointed questions not only about his contacts with Russian officials, but also about his conversations with Mr James Comey, the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director.

Sessions met with Kislyak twice in 2016 - once at an event hosted by the Republican National Convention and once at Sessions' Washington, D.C. office.

The department has repeatedly and vociferously denied that there was a third meeting, which press reports suggest could have occurred at a Russia-friendly foreign policy address given by Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016. The announcement of his testimony was made without comment from committee officials, who decline to say whether Sessions would be sworn to tell the truth. After that failure to disclose came to light, Sessions defended himself and sent supplemental testimony to the Senate.

The prospect of Nixon-style tapes, which the president alluded to in a cryptic tweet last month, have added to the cloud of intrigue hanging over the Trump administration. Recordings of conversations where Trump allegedly asked Comey for "loyalty" and to stop investigating Michael Flynn would either support or refute Comey's allegations against the president. It's a curious way to respect a recusal, and the attorney general ought to explain why he believed it was appropriate for him to offer a recommendation on Comey's fate to the president.

Sessions said his decision to accept the intelligence committee's invitation to appear was due in part to Comey's testimony.

Sessions is skipping a separate hearing on Tuesday on the Justice Department's budget and sending his deputy for the session that will be open to the public.

Sessions will be testifying before Congress for the first time since he was confirmed as attorney general in February.

On Comey's accusations that Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation of Flynn, Bharara said "no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction" of justice.