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15th-Nov-2017

Sessions facing Congress amid new Russia probe details

By

AP, Washington  :
Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday amid growing evidence of contacts between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump. And he will be bracing for an onslaught of lawmakers' questions about how much he knew of that outreach during last year's White House campaign.
The appearance before the House Judiciary Committee follows a guilty plea from one Trump campaign aide who served on a foreign policy advisory council that Sessions chaired, as well as statements from another adviser who said he'd advised the then-GOP Alabama senator about an upcoming trip to Russia. Those details complicate Sessions' effort to downplay knowledge of the campaign's foreign contacts.
Democratic lawmakers already contend the attorney general has not been forthcoming with them and have signaled that questions about the new revelations are likely to dominate what could otherwise have been a routine oversight hearing. "These facts appear to contradict your sworn testimony on several occasions," Democrats from the committee said in a letter to Sessions last week. Republicans, for their part, may press Sessions on the Justice Department's handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices as well as an Obama-era uranium deal that has invited GOP scrutiny. Sessions, an early Trump backer who led the foreign policy council during the campaign, has been shadowed for months by questions about his own communications with Russians and by contacts of others in the Trump orbit.
That issue has been at the forefront of each of his congressional hearings even as Sessions has labored to promote the Justice Department's work and priorities, and Tuesday's appearance is unlikely to be an exception.
At his January confirmation hearing, Sessions told Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., that "I did not have communications" with the Russians during the campaign and said he was "unaware" of contacts between others in the campaign and Russia.