Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing to face former Senate colleagues over his role in the controversy around ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, part of a strategy by the White House to defuse tensions after former FBI Director James Comey’s public appearance.
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Sessions is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee — and plans to destroy once and for all what critics call a liberal “conspiracy theory.”
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, a Republican, said Sessions’ testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey’s allegations, including Sessions’ presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone. Comey alleges that Trump then privately asked him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia.
Comey also has said Sessions did not respond when he complained he didn’t “want to get time alone with the president again.” The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.
“We want to be able to get his side of it,” Lankford said.
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Trump on Sunday accused Comey of “cowardly” leaks and predicted many more from him —
I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very 'cowardly!'
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2017
Several Republican lawmakers also criticized Comey for disclosing memos he had written in the aftermath of his private conversations with Trump, calling that action “inappropriate.”
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Sessions stepped aside in March from the federal investigation into contacts between Russia and the campaign after acknowledging that he had met twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this article